NYCHA didn’t need a sex scandal, too

Photo Credit: David Handschuh /David Handschuh

Here’s a short list of the yearslong alleged bad behavior of New York City Housing Authority managers Brianne Pawson and Wallace Vereen at the Throggs Neck Houses:

  • They threatened lower-level NYCHA employees, with Pawson saying one caretaker “should rape” another.
  • They were drunk and partied on the job, taxpayer time.
  • They had sex with subordinates and made the subordinates’ lives miserable if relationships ended.
  • They sidestepped procurement rules and once threw out perfectly functional equipment like drills and saws.

These disturbing details come from the city Department of Investigation’s report into “alleged employee misconduct” at the site, a Bronx haven of affordable housing.

Mad yet? When Pawson, whose father was a longtime NYCHA executive manager, failed a required Civil Service test and was demoted, she and Vereen did what they could to undermine the new assistant superintendent, the DOI report says. That included Pawson using scissors to cut power cords on four used refrigerators, apparently so that tenants might complain about the new management.

Pawson and Vereen could not be reached for comment.

A NYCHA spokeswoman points to reforms, including overtime controls and a compliance department dating to the last NYCHA chair. A mayoral spokeswoman has said NYCHA is seeking to dismiss the workers. That’s not enough. The reported misconduct underscores NYCHA’s larger challenges with management and oversight.

Small wonder that the beleaguered agency is in danger of receivership of some sort by the federal government after having been beset with scandals about lead paint, unacceptable heat and hot water outages, and mold.

City Councilman Ritchie Torres, a Bronx Democrat who was born and raised in the Throggs Neck Houses, has introduced legislation to help monitor employee overtime, and he plans to expand that to include procurement.

That’s one attempt to make NYCHA run better. As we can see just from Throggs Neck, the list of what needs fixing is nearly endless.