NEW YORK — The New York City Housing Authority chair is under fire as the Department of Investigations is looking into allegations that Shola Olatoye lied under oath about lead paint inspections at a City Council meeting, the Daily News reports.
The investigations stem from a series of revelations that lead paint inspections were not conducted under federal standards across thousands of publicly-run apartments. "DOI’s investigation found that NYCHA failed to do critical lead safety inspections and then falsely certified that they were meeting these legal requirements. This is the fourth time in two years that DOI has found NYCHA to be careless when it comes to tenant safety. NYCHA has an obligation both to protect tenants and to be honest with the public," Commissioner Mark G. Peters said.
In addition to the revelations, Olatoye allegedly knew that NYCHA workers who were not properly trained or certified to handle lead paint conducted the inspections. During a Dec. hearing, Olatoye claimed 4,200 apartments were inspected by workers with proper certification under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the investigation report, the DOI later found that none of the inspections were conducted by employees with HUD certification.
The mayor continues to insist that NYCHA, as a whole, has continued to greatly improve, “I see really big progress. Taking an institution that was a financial basketcase and putting a firm footing — taking developments that were very dangerous and helping make them profoundly safer.”
The next steps for how the apartments will be properly inspected or cleaned up was not immediately available.
Despite claims of Olatoye lying, NYCHA said Olatoye's claims are truthful. "The Chair was truthful and relied on the facts provided to her. She was told staff had been trained. We will evaluate DOI’s claims to understand their assertions here," said NYCHA spokesperson Jasmine Blake.
If convicted, Olatoye could face a misdemeanor charge or face fines of up to $1,000.