A report released Monday by New York City’s fiscal watchdog blamed the “absence of clear direction from City Hall” in the sale of the Rivington House health care center to a luxury condo developer.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer in a five-month probe found several city agencies and dozens of city officials were privy to talks over the removal of deed restrictions on the nonprofit Lower East Side nursing home.
The report did not directly implicate Mayor Bill de Blasio, but it singled out First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. Stringer’s office said Shorris “ignored” memos about changes that would have ended the requirement that Rivington House be used for public purposes.
De Blasio said he had not seen Stringer’s report and repeated that he was initially out of the loop about the lifting of the deed restrictions.
“I didn’t know about it. I would have vetoed it,” de Blasio said. “We have reforms in place that will never allow it to happen again. It’s as simple as that.”
A report last month by de Blasio’s Department of Investigation contained a 2014 email from Shorris to de Blasio after a meeting in which the Rivington matter came up.
The Allure Group paid the city $16.15 million to lift the deed restrictions.
Stringer’s report accused Joel Landau, principal of Allure, of exploiting a “vacuum” in de Blasio administration operations.
An attorney for Allure, Andrew Levander, interpreted Stringer’s report as confirming his company “never lied to or misled city officials about the potential sale of Rivington House.”
With Matthew Chayes