Local elected officials have weighed in during the past few days regarding a blistering report on the de Blasio administration’s mishandling of the Rivington House mess.
Last Thursday, the Department of Investigation released the results of its inquiry. It found that city officials had been repeatedly warned about the consequences of lifting deed restrictions on the former nursing facility. Through inattention and incompetence, they allowed the longtime community facility to slip into the hands of luxury condo developers. Below you’ll find an “open letter” to the mayor from Assemblywoman Alice Cancel, as well as a joint statement from City Council member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
Dear Mayor DeBlasio: I write an open letter to you not only as a representative of this community but, also as a resident fearful for the neighbors I love. The DOI’s report said that your administration was aware of the plan by the Allure Group to lift the deed restriction on Rivington House but, did nothing. You claim to be the Mayor for affordable housing, for the poor and middle class.
Our poor and middle class community had no say in this process. It appears that this once public use property will be turned into luxury condos. I can assure you, we have as much concern as anyone for all the homeless millionaires in the world. You may not be aware that our Lower East Side has been a traditional haven for the poor and immigrants. This wonderful and historic communities’ waterfront is also being attacked with luxury towers, probably displacing seniors and the poor.
It seems that you are sacrificing our community on the altar of the 1%.
Mayor DeBlasio, you say this was a mistake. If it was it wasn’t our communities’ mistake, it was your administrations mistake. If there was a lack of communication it wasn’t on our part, why should our community suffer? Your administration’s policies weather you are aware of it or not, will be forcing the poor from their homes and replacing them with the wealthy. Manhattan for the rich seems to be the plan.
Mr. Mayor, if this is not your plan for the poor and middle class what is. I once thought you would be the Mayor for the people however the actions of your administration has shown this. If this was a mistake, FIX IT. If not, we know where we stand. Our Lower East Siders will fight for their community as our parents and grandparents have done. We will not give up!
From Brewer and Chin:
This troubling report makes a clear case for increased transparency and public review in the deed restriction lifting process. On behalf of a community that lost an important healthcare asset, we call on the Administration to hold anyone that helped obscure the truth about this transaction accountable for their actions. In addition, we call on the Administration to turn over all relevant information, emails, and other documents so that all questions about this troubling situation are answered. We will be pushing for a hearing on our legislation to reform the process of lifting and modifying deed restrictions as soon as possible to ensure that what happened at Rivington House never happens again.