Councilman Ritchie Torres to Require NYCHA Chair, Shola Olatoye, to Appear Before City Council After Falsification of Lead Paint Certifications

NYCHA’s Melrose Houses in the background

BREAKING―New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres of The Bronx, who chairs the Committee for Public Housing and who oversees New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), just issued a statement requiring that disgraced NYCHA Chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, “…to appear before a City Council oversight hearing in early December.” according to a press release issued by the office of the councilman.

This comes just days after a report by the Department of Investigation showed that NYCHA had lied and been sending in false reports to the federal government that the agency was in compliance with checking over 55,000 apartments which must be visually inspected for lead paint, something which Olatoye knew to be false but continued to submit the reports anyway.

NYCHA, which is already crumbling and in disrepair, has willfully put our children and residents at risk by not carrying out the necessary inspections for lead paint.

Olatoye needs to be fired. There is no questions about it nor any point to a hearing at this point and should have criminal charges thrown at her for what she has done to our most vulnerable residents.

Incidence of lead poisoning in our children has continued to decline in New York City and The Bronx has an overall lower incident rate than the rest of the city, but this is an unacceptable act of violence towards our residents who deserve better.

Today, Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr went to a NYCHA apartment at Melrose Houses in his District 17 to show the deplorable conditions residents are living in with lead paint./Image via Salamanca’s Twitter Feed

How is this any better than what has been happening in Flint, Michigan where the entire population of over 100,000 people were exposed to high levels of lead yet the government knew and did nothing about it?

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is right in calling for new leadership at the failed agency that is NYCHA. This recent scandal with lying about lead paint inspections is just one of the many issues plaguing the agency as the infrastructure of over 2,600 buildings is rotting away.

According to the Observer, James came to the conclusion that Olatoye needs to resign after meeting with her and not receiving neither a real explanation of what and why it happened nor what the agency planned on doing to rectify the problem.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio is on the wrong side of the fence and defending Olatoye rather than pushing for further investigations or just forcing her to resign.

What is there to defend? The report was quite clear which stated:

” In its Report, DOI shows that despite its senior staff being made aware that NYCHA was out of compliance with City lead laws in 2015, and its Chair, Shola Olatoye, being told in 2016 of non-compliance with both City and Federal rules, certifications were still submitted to the federal government. As a result of this investigation, and three additional DOI investigations that revealed other serious safety hazards and breakdowns over the past two years, DOI is recommending that a monitor, reporting to DOI, be appointed to ensure future compliance with inspections in areas including lead paint, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.”

Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr of The Bronx called for the appointment of an independent monitor and just today visited an apartment at Melrose Houses to show the deplorable conditions residents are living with lead paint.


“In the past 36 hours I have reviewed the Department of Investigation’s report multiple times,” he said. “I have also spoken to tenants and others knowledgeable on these issues. I believe there is no justification for why lead paint testing and abatement wasn’t completed and reported properly. This was incompetent at best, negligent at worst.” said Councilman Salamanca Jr

And what Salamanca said in his tweet is correct, “This issues are above politics…”

We demand better. We demand Shola Olatoye steps down and let someone who is competent and has the morals to do what is right.

Read more: Mayor de Blasio admits city failed to perform lead paint inspections, backs NYCHA boss after lie exposed – NY Daily News

Cuomo Considering Monitor for NYCHA Amid Lead Paint Scandal – NY Observer


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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.