BREAKING UPDATE: US Attorney confirms to PIX11 that the city has reached a deal with the federal government for $2.2 billion dollars for NYCHA repairs.
NEW YORK — As City Hall works on a multi-billion dollar settlement with the federal government to fix public housing in New York City, the deal is raising serious questions with one city leader who is now telling PIX11 News that the mayor may be trying to hide something.
Councilman Ritchie Torres broke the news on PIX11 News' Facebook Live show Thursday morning, dropping a bombshell that was passed along to him by what he calls a credible source.
"I know I am under obligation to break some news, yes,” Torres said. “An inside source tells me if the city refuses to sign the consent decree with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney will file a criminal complaint."
That came 14 minutes into Monica Morales’ one-on-one conversation with Torres, chair of oversight and investigations of the City Council.
It’s a huge development that Torres said sheds more light on why the mayor would strike such a historic deal.
PIX11 News has reached out to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office and NYCHA. They have not responded to the request.
We asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office if there was a criminal investigation and a spokesman declined to comment. A spokesperson with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also declined to comment.
In a letter address to the office of first deputy mayor of New York city, Torres questioned de Blasio’s motives for signing a consent decree that would give the federal government control of NYCHA, along with billions of dollars for repair costs. Those billions would come from tax-payer money.
"The proposed consent decree comes in the wake of a two-year federal investigation into NYCHA’s mishandling of mandatory lead paint inspections in 2016,” Torres said.
PIX11 News asked City Council speaker Corey Johnson about what Torres said.
"Monica, you're always breaking NYCHA news,” he said. "No, I don't know anything about it.”
For months, PIX11 has covered problems surrounding NYCHA.
The mayor has already committed $200 million to repair the aging boiler system and another $20 million in his preliminary budget for a problem he says he inherited.
Sources tell PIX11 that de Blasio is expected to sign the consent decree in a closed-door meeting in the coming days.