Following the controversy surrounding the deed restrictions at Rivington House, and most recently another property in Harlem, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he will directly approve changes to all deed restrictions moving forward, the New York Times reports.
The de Blasio administration has coming under increasing scrutiny in recent months surrounding the sale of the properties in Harlem and on the Lower East Side. In both cases, de Blasio has stated that he was not directly aware of the changes, but at least in regards to Rivington House, it has now become clear that members of his administration were aware of the looming troubles.
In the case of the Dance Theater of Harlem and its land at St. Nicholas Avenue and West 152nd Street, de Blasio said the due procedure was followed in that change, even though it may not have been the right course of action. He also argued that the sale of the land helped the theater pay off its debts and in turn help the local community, as opposed to the sale of Rivington House, which developers want to turn into condos.
That sale and deed change is the subject of several investigations including one being undertaken by United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. In addition to these investigations, de Blasio himself is facing a federal investigation surrounding his fundraising efforts.