NEW YORK -- For New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the prospect of losing control of NYCHA, and watching helplessly as the feds take it over would surely be a major blow politically…and to the mayor’s legacy.
“It’s clear that he holds the outcome in his hands," de Blasio said. "And it’s also clear that he wants a dialogue – he wants a positive resolution."
In spite of the mayor’s optimism, the threat of federal receivership - is real.
In fact, Federal Housing Secretary Ben Carson showed up Tuesday to the Queensbridge Houses, the country’s largest public housing development, a move perhaps intended to underscore just how high the stakes are for the de Blasio administration…and for tenants like Cathy Bladykas.
“It’s time for them to step in," Bladykas said. "Mold. My levels were between 15 to 1600 and normal levels were supposed to be 4 to 500. i have twins, my older daughter, my grandson."
When asked if she’s satisfied with the progress thus far, with the city in control, she quickly replied, “No.”
Last week, the mayor released his latest plan to fix the city’s biggest landlord – NYCHA 2.0 -- which would resolve $24 billion in vital repairs.
“No -- only in the room, for the toilet. For the kitchen. But no in my room. And no in the living room,” said NYCHA tenant Angel Berger.
The only problem – the plan falls short – by almost $8 billion - of addressing NYCHA’s overall capital need.
So two days after the mayor announced his plan, Secretary Carson fired off a letter to de Blasio and NYCHA with a plan of his own:
If the agency cannot get its act together with an acceptable plan by the end of January, the feds just might take control of NYCHA - away from the de Blasio Administration, and place the agency into receivership.
After Tuesday’s closed door meeting with Secretary Carson, the mayor seemed to plead his case - for one more chance.
“We affirmed the timeline. we affirmed who the players would be. this was very tangible stuff to keep us moving forward,” said the Mayor.