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NYCHA lead paint scandal not enough for de Blasio to oust chairwoman Shola Olatoye

NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye is being urged to

NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye is being urged to step down after a Department of Investigations report alleged she signed off on federal compliance documents while knowing the agency had failed to complete lead-based paint inspections. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to back embattled NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye as she prepared to testify before the City Council on Tuesday about the agency’s failure to conduct vital lead paint inspections.

Olatoye has been under fire since a city Department of Investigation report released last month found that the agency had filed false documents with the federal government claiming it completed lead paint inspections. Instead, the DOI found NYCHA had “failed to conduct mandatory safety inspections” over a four-year period starting in 2013.

“I’m satisfied about the way [Olatoye] saw problems and addressed them,” de Blasio said during a monthly crime briefing in Harlem with NYPD officials. “I’m particularly satisfied of her overall performance.”

De Blasio added that NYCHA suffered from “decades of disinvestment by the federal government” and “a lack of interest at City Hall in the previous 20 years . . . of bad management practices that were not addressed properly, for a long time.”

The time frame would reference both the administrations of former Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. De Blasio was first elected in 2013 and re-elected in November.

According to the DOI, Olatoye was aware that her agency had filed false documents with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development certifying lead paint inspections had taken place.

Lead paint dust and chips can be hazardous for young children.

“But I am satisfied that the inspections we need to be taking now are happening, that the training that was required for workers is happening, and that we’re on the right track,” de Blasio said.

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