MetroFocus

NYCHA: ASSIGNING BLAME

Transcript

>>> FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS,
SOME OF THE BIGGEST HEADLINE
STORIES IN NEW YORK CITY HAVE
BEEN ABOUT THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS
PROBLEMS OF THE NEW YORK CITY
HOUSING AUTHORITY.
THE MOST RECENT, THE BREAKDOWN
OF NITRO BOILERS WHICH RESULTED
IN THOUSANDS OF NYCHA TENNANTS,
WITHOUT HEAT OR HOT WATER DURING
THIS YEAR'S RECORD COLD
TEMPERATURES.
A DEAL BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE
DURST ORGANIZATION, A REAL
ESTATE COMPANY, WHICH WOULD HAVE
UPGRADED THE BOILERS BY NEXT
WINTER, SOMETHING THAT WOULD
HAVE AFFECTED SOME 3,000 TE
TENANTS.
AFTER HAVING APPROVED THE BOND
THAT WOULD HAVE MADE THE PROJECT
POSSIBLE, THE CITY RESCINDED THE
DEAL.
AND IF THINGS STAY AS THEY ARE,
RESIDENTS WILL NOT GET BOILERS
BY NEXT WINTER AND THE 163
AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS WILL BE
PUT ON HOLD.
HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN AND WHAT
WILL HAPPEN NEXT, JOINING ME IS
SALLY GOLDENBERG, SENIOR WRITER
AT POLITICO WHO HAS BEEN
COVERING THE STORY.
SALLY, FIRST OF ALL, BASIC, WHAT
EXACTLY DID THE DE BLASIO
ADMINISTRATION DECIDE NOT TO DO
AFTER HAVING AGREED TO DO IT?
>> THEY DECIDED NOT TO AUTHORIZE
BOND FUNDS FOR THE O' -- THE NEW
YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
LEASES OR IN THE PAST SOLD SOME
OF ITS VACANT LAND TO DEVELOPERS
TO MAKE MONEY FOR ITS NEEDS
BECAUSE OF ITS DRAMATIC BUDGET
DEFICITS.
AND SO THERE WAS A DEAL DATING
BACK TO THE BLOOMBERG
ADMINISTRATION WITH DURST TO
SELL SOME LAND SO THEY COULD BE
PART OF A BIG MUCHER PROJECT,
THEY PAY NYCHA THE MONEY, NYCHA
GETS TO BUILD THE -- AND THAT
BOND FINANCE, THEY WANTED AND
CUT A DEAL WITH THE CITY TO GET
BOND FINANCING, WHICH THE CITY
HAS TO AUTHORIZE.
THEY SIGNALED THEY WERE GOING TO
AUTHORIZE IT AND THEN PULLED IT.
>> AND THAT WAS $43 MILLION.
AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE CITY
WOULD HAVE PAID DURST $43
MILLION.
>> IT'STHE CITY GETS A FINE NIG
ABOUT IT OF IT TO ALLOCATE SO IT
DOESN'T COST THE --
>> AND IT WOULD BE TAX EXEMPT.
>> YES, AND THEORETICALLY, IT'S
BOND FINANCING THAT COULD GO TO
ANOTHER PROJECT.
>> THE ADMINISTRATION, WHAT IS
THE ARGUMENT THAT IT GIVES FOR
HAVING RESCINDED THIS DEAL?
>> WELL, INITIALLY THEY SAID
THEY -- THEY HAVE GIVEN A FEW
DIFFERENT EXPLANATIONS, THE
INITIAL ONE WAS THEY WERE
WORRIED THAT THE WHITE HOUSE
WOULD JUST CANCEL THIS BOND
FINANCING PROGRAM ALL TOGETHER
BECAUSE THE WHITE HOUSE HAS BEEN
SORT OF AGGRESSIVELY GOING AFTER
LOW INCOME AND PUBLIC HOUSING.
SO THEY WANTED TO APPROVE KIND
OF A CUSHION IN CASE THE DEAL
FELL THROUGH.
AND THEN THEY HAD TO CUT.
SO THAT WAS AN INITIAL
EXPLANATION, AND THEN THEY SORT
OF MOVED TO CRITICIZING THE WAY
THAT WAS FINANCED IN THE FIRST
PLACE BECAUSE HALOT POINT, THE
BUILDING DURST IS BUILDING IS
MARKET RATE AND HIGH END AND
THEY'RE SAYING THEY COULD COVER
THE EXTRA COST WITH THE MARKET
RATE AND THEY'RE DOUBLE DIPPING
BECAUSE THEY'RE GETTING TAX
CREDITS --
>> WHICH IS PAR FOR THE COURSE
FOR A DEVELOPER?
>> YES, OF COURSE.
THIS IS WHAT THEY DO.
>> HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE
WILL NOT GET FUNNELSING BOILERS
BY THIS WINTER?
>> THEY'RE SAYING THAT
IMPROVEMENTS DURST -- DURST
WASN'T GOING TO REPLACE THE
BOILERS, BUT MAKE THEM MORE
EFFICIENT, REPLACE THE BURNERS
AND THE LEGS THEY STAND ON AND
THEN DO GROUND UPKEEP, JUST DO
MAINTENANCE OF THE WHOLE ASTORIA
HOUSE PROPERTY.
DURST AND THE CITY COUNCIL
DISAGREE WITH THAT ASSERTION,
AND THEY'RE SAYING, YOU STILL
NEED TO REPLACE THE ASTORIA
HOUSE BOILERS BUT THIS WOULD
HELP.
>> AND RITCHIE TORRES, AND THE
INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE ISSUED A
REPORT CALLED LEFT OUT IN THE
COLD AND HE SAID, NO, YOU'RE
GOING TO HAVE TO ANSWER TO OVER
3,000 FEEL WHO WOULD HAVE HAD
FUNCTIONING HEATERS THAT THEY
WON'T HAVE NOW.
I MEAN GUARANTEED FUNCTIONING
HEATERS.
HOW DO THEY RESPOND TO THAT?
>> THE ADMINISTRATION, YOU MEAN?
>> YES.
>> THEY ALLOCATED $20 MILLION TO
ASTORIA HOUSES AND THAT WILL
TAKE FOUR TO SIX HEATING
SEASONS, THEY CALL IT, TO BE
FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND THEY'RE
SAYING, NO, WE'RE GOING TO FIX
THE BOILERS, DURST WOULDN'T HAVE
ACTUALLY FIXED THE BOILERS.
>> SO WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON
HERE?
WHAT'S GOING ON UNDERNEATH?
SOME PEOPLE -- SOME ARGUE THAT
THE REASON THAT THE
ADMINISTRATION DID THIS TO THE
DURST ORGANIZATION IS BECAUSE OF
A FAEUD THAT STARTED BACK IN
SEPTEMBER BETWEEN THE DURST
ORGANIZATION AND THE CITY.
>> WELL, MAYOR DE BLASIO WAS
UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR
ALLEGEDLY DOING FAVORS FOR
CAMPAIGN DONORS AND EVERYONE WAS
CLEARED IN HIS ADMINISTRATION,
NOBODY WAS CHARGED WITH
ANYTHING.
BUT DURING THAT INVESTIGATION,
HE SAID, NO, WE DON'T DO FAVORS
FOR DONORS, WE TREAT EVERYONE
THE SAME AN.
DURST HAD BEEN A BIG FUND RAISER
FOR DEB BLASIO, SO HE USED DURS
WITHOUT NAMING HIM AS AN
EXAMPLE.
HE WAS FUNDRAISING, BUT HE
DIDN'T GET THE PROJECT HE
WANTED.
>> IT WAS VERY CLEAR WHO IT WAS
BECAUSE DURST HAD HOPED TO GET
THE CONTRACT AND DIDN'T GET IT.
SO HE WAS ONE OF TWO EXAMPLES
THE MAYOR GAVE AS SOMEONE WHO
DIDN'T GET WHAT HE WANTED.
AND I
AND THEN DURST MADE IT VERY
DIFFICULT FOR THIS DILLER
ISLAND, PIER 55 HUDSON RIVER
PARK.
>> LARRY DILLER.
>> YEAH, THE BILLIONAIRE MARRIED
TO DIANE von FIRSTENBERG.
SHE WANTED TO BUILD THIS BIG
RIVIERA AT THE HUDSON RIVER
PARK.
AND DURST SUED TO SORT OF BLOCK
THE WHOLE THING.
IT'S NOW GOING FORWARD, BUT THE
DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION AND THE
CUOMO ADMINISTRATION WERE BOTH
VERY UPSET ABOUT THAT.
>> OKAY, WE'LL FOLLOW THIS
STORY, SALLY, THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR JOINING US.


URL: https://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2018/03/nycha-assigning-blame/