Sunday, June 17, 2018

BDB caught off guard by raid

From the NY Times:

Two days after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a sweeping civil settlement with the federal government over New York City’s public housing system, federal and local investigators seized documents and other items Wednesday from a Queens office of the city’s housing authority.

The investigators questioned housing officials, cloned computer hard drives and took the city-issued cellphone of a senior manager overseeing lead abatement, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Then they returned on Thursday.

The surprise visit rattled officials and pierced the veneer of common purpose presented by Mayor de Blasio on Monday when he announced that the city would commit at least $1.2 billion in extra funding for needed repairs in New York City Housing Authority buildings. With the agreement with the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, the city avoided a civil trial that would have examined longstanding problems at the authority, including failure to test for hazardous lead paint over several years.

“We agreed to create a common game plan,” Mr. de Blasio said.

The searches were conducted by the city’s Department of Investigation, the inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency, and they appeared to catch top officials at the housing authority off-guard. The investigators arrived at the building on 49th Avenue in Long Island City without a search warrant, relying instead on the city agency’s power to directly access city records without a warrant, according to one of the people briefed on the raid.

Riveting story from Jackson Heights

From CBS 2:

Across from his window that morning, and for days leading up to this, workers were making repairs to the transit infrastructure, Carlin reported. The first few workers he questioned denied the projectile came from their site. Then, he said another worker confessed to the accident and gave him an explanation.

“They use a high-powered device to shoot the rivets out. Now, there’s supposed to be another worker on the other end of the rivet to catch the rivet. He said they’re called a muffler. I guess like a baseball catcher would catch a fastball. Except in this case, there was no catcher at the other side,” said Siegel.

CBS2 asked the MTA about safety protocols and why, in this case, they apparently failed. The agency said it’s looking into it.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Ridgewood getting a hotel

From Queens Beans:

The hotel boom that seems to have taken over Queens is not stopping any time soon, since a new hotel is in the works. This new construction will have four stories and will be addressed at 1616 Summerfield Street, in Ridgewood. Behind the applications is the Loketch Group, and J Frankl and C. Mallea Architects. When it comes to location, the Halsey Street subway station in Bushwick is just four blocks away, a station which is serviced by the L train.

Once completed, the hotel will be 54-foot tall and the structure will yield over 62k sf. Besides creating 132 guest rooms, developers will include a commercial area spanning 38,600 square feet. There will be twenty-something rooms per floor, starting at the cellar and guests will be able to access bike storage room and a lobby.

What a great location for a hotel!

Friday, June 15, 2018

State made unnecessary Medicaid payouts

From Crain's:

Thanks to a lack of oversight, the state Health Department doled out $1.3 billion in six years in Medicaid premiums for people who were already enrolled in other comprehensive health plans, according to a new report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The report found that the state Health Department is not quick enough to disenroll people when they sign up for coverage with another insurer. The overwhelming majority of those funds—about $1.2 billion—are not recoverable.

"Glitches in the state Department of Health's payment system and other problems led to over a billion dollars in unnecessary spending," DiNapoli said. "The department needs to improve its procedures and stop this waste of taxpayer money."

City will build senior apartments amidst housing projects

From the Wall Street Journal:

New York City has committed $500 million to build up to a thousand of affordable apartments for low-income senior citizens on vacant public-housing land, a move advocates say would help reduce the wait list for apartments.

The plan, first pushed in the proposed new budget by New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, will construct new apartment buildings on lawns, parking lots and unused land at New York City Housing Authority developments and other public locations. The units will be set aside for low-income senior citizens, many of whom already live in public housing.

“If you can get seniors living now in two-, three-bedroom apartments in NYCHA to move into new apartments, you make room for folks who are on the waiting list,” said the Rev. David Brawley, pastor at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn’s East New York section and member of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation.

There are 207,000 families on the wait list for public housing, and addressing that number could help reduce homelessness, Mr. Brawley said. There are currently more than 58,700 people living in shelters across the city, according to the latest data.