Here's a look at part of the report via the EVG inbox...
New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released a report today detailing the findings of a five-month investigation into actions taken by the City of New York that allowed Rivington House – a nursing home on the Lower East Side of Manhattan – to be sold for a $72 million profit in February 2016.
The Comptroller’s Office found that multiple City agencies and dozens of City officials were involved in deliberations about the removal of two deed restrictions that previously limited the property’s use to a not-for-profit residential health care facility.
The Comptroller’s investigation found the Rivington House property was allowed to slip away because of poor execution of City processes that were intended to elicit public opinion and protect the City’s best interests. This deal resulted in patients losing their homes, healthcare workers losing their jobs at the site, a neighborhood losing a vital community asset, and the City losing its power to ensure that the property was used for a public purpose “in perpetuity.”
Over the course of the investigation, the Comptroller’s Office reviewed more than 80,000 documents, including communications among the Rivington House sellers and buyers and City officials and interviewed Administration officials who were engaged over a two-year period with issues related to this deal.
Investigators found that, despite 48 City staff meetings and hundreds of emails and phone calls, lapses in the oversight of the deed removal process allowed Joel Landau, principal of the Allure Group, to secure the removal of the Rivington House deed restrictions at the same time that he was working to “flip” the property into luxury condominiums.
“No individual should be allowed to profit off the loss of vital community resources,” Comptroller Stringer said, “But what’s worse is that the checks and balances in place to avoid this kind of outcome were mismanaged. We have to make sure our government operates with the highest level of accountability to guarantee this never happens again.”
You can find a PDF of the full report here.
U.S. Attorney General Preet Bharara and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are also investigating the removal of the deed restriction.