A federal judge has rejected a settlement between the United States attorney’s office and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to appoint a federal monitor to oversee the troubled agency and would have required the city to spend more than $2 billion on repairs at NYCHA developments.
According to the New York Times, judge William H. Pauley III rejected the settlement after determining that its terms didn’t put enough emphasis on enforcement and that it also left out the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and Congress, both of which are tasked, by law, with addressing major issues with public housing. Judge Pauley III also stated that the settlement was “not fair, reasonable or consistent with the public interest.”
As part of the settlement, the city agreed to pump billions over the next decade into repair work and upkeep at NYCHA buildings, while a court-appointed federal monitor would oversee all repairs. However, Judge Pauley III said that after hearing testimony from dozens of NYCHA tenants, he could not ignore their accounts of the “squalid conditions in their apartments and the indifference of NYCHA management,” notes the Times.
The agency has failed to comply with lead paint inspections and heat outages that left 80 percent of NYCHA residents without heat or hot water at some point last winter. NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye resigned in April amid the scandals and Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency earlier this year.