City officials scrambled to undo the mess created by lifting the deed restriction at Rivington House on the Lower East Side, a New York Post investigation has revealed. Even though Mayor Bill de Blasio has denied that he knew anything about the fiasco until the end of March, several higher ups in his administration had already spent a month trying to rectify the potential fallout from the Rivington House deal, according to the Post.
The matter surrounding the deed restriction and subsequent sale of the property by the Allure Group to a developer for $116 million is currently being investigated by five different agencies, but it appears that some city officials knew this was bound to happen.
In February, the chief of staff to deputy mayor, Alicia Glenn learned of the deal and tried to refund the Allure Group the $16 million it paid to have the deed restriction lifted, according to the Post.
But he was told that the sale had been finalized. In fact, the city agency that handled the sale, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, had been trying to push for the deed restrictions to be lifted quickly, according to the Post.
That agency is now also the subject of an investigative report by the Wall Street Journal which highlights how this little-known agency enjoys tremendous power and handles over $1 billion in purchases.
The original owner of Rivington House, Village Care, tried to initiate the deed removal procedure back in 2013, so it could close and sell the facility. Allure then purchased the building for $28 million in February 2015, and continued to pursue lifting the deed restriction. However the administration says it was under the impression that Allure would continue to run it as a nursing home, and that it "lied" to the administration during the entire process.