Despite repeated assertions that no one in the de Blasio administration knew about the lifting of the deed restriction at Rivington House, an investigation by the New York Times has revealed the contrary — that a top official knew about the matter as far back as a year ago.
Memos obtained by the Times reveal that the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (the agency that handles deed restrictions) wrote to first deputy mayor Anthony Shorris on May 6, 2015, informing him that the agency was working to remove restrictions on Rivington House after Allure Group had agreed to pay $16.5 million for it.
The memo however mentions the fact that Allure intended to use the building as a for-profit care facility, which in turn bolsters the administration’s claim that they were misled about the sale and the deed restriction removal at the property.
Just five days after that memo was sent, Allure went into contract to sell the building to a developer on May 11, 2015. Shorris was also updated on the deed restriction matter on July 8, 2015, but there’s no evidence yet that anyone in the administration knew about the sale of the building to a developer or its subsequent conversion to a condo building.
The sale of the property and the lifting of the deed restriction are currently under investigation by the city comptroller, the city’s Investigation Department, and the state attorney general. Last week, the latter's office announced its intention to prevent Allure Group from purchasing anymore nursing homes based on their prior dealings.