A Manhattan judge has slapped down a request by New York City’s public-housing residents to help dictate the terms of the feds’ $2 billion-plus deal to improve their decrepit and often dangerous living conditions.
Federal Judge William Pauley said the tenants’ groups, including the City-Wide Council of Presidents, can oppose the deal to force NYCHA to clean up its act, but they cannot become a party to the case, which would have resulted in the agreement being renegotiated.
The tenants groups had asked for “a seat at the table” after the feds announced they had settled their legal case accusing NYCHA of allowing tenants to live in unsafe conditions — and of lying to the feds about efforts to clean up dangerous lead paint.
“Undoubtedly . . . the NYCHA tenants’ voices are important and must be heard,” Pauley said in his ruling Thursday.
“But it does not follow that they must necessarily be signatories to the proposed consent decree.”
CCOP and At-Risk Community Services, another tenant group that asked to intervene, are already preparing a list of objections for the judge, who still has to approve the deal, said Emily Reisbaum, a lawyer for the groups.
“We are going to have a whole long list of things we want,” she said. “We are optimistic he will consider our objections and that the voices of NYCHA residents will be heard in that context.”
The feds’ deal calls for the city to invest $2.2 billion into reforming NYCHA over the next five years, which is $1.2 billion more than had previously been already budgeted.
The deal also calls for the cleanup to be overseen by a court-appointed monitor.
As part of the deal, NYCHA admitted to exposing tenants to unsanitary and often dangerous living conditions that included no heat in the winter, exposure to toxic lead paint and mold, and vermin.
NYCHA also admitted to lying to federal authorities about its efforts to identify and remove the lead paint.
NYCHA agreed to the deal with the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office on June 11.
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