De Blasio’s Ignorance is Bliss…
De Blasio is playing the “I did not know” card with respect to the crimes potentially committed under his watch (and in our view with his knowledge and approval). He claims to “want to know the same answer you’re looking for.” Does he really want the questions asked in the first place? Likely, not. There were dozens of articles published in the New York Post and the Forward before he acknowledged the events. Did he not read for a few weeks?
LostMessiah, April 6, 2016
From the New York Times, April 5, 2016
“The New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has opened an investigation into a series of transactions surrounding the lifting of a deed restriction on a Manhattan nursing home that enabled its purchase by a luxury condominium developer for $116 million.
The attorney general’s office began sending subpoenas on Friday to the developer and several other companies involved in the transactions involving 45 Rivington Street, a former school building on the Lower East Side that had been a nonprofit health care center for AIDS patients until last year.
The question of how and why the city removed restrictive conditions on the deed for the property, paving the way for its transformation into market-rate apartments, has already drawn the scrutiny of the city’s comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, and the city’s Investigation Department. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office, Eric Soufer, confirmed its investigation on Monday but declined to discuss its details or targets.
As of Tuesday, subpoenas had been received by several parties in the transactions, including Allure Group, a for-profit nursing home company, and Capalino and Company, a lobbying firm that represented the operator of the health care center, Village Care, in its negotiations with the city to try to lift the deed restriction. In February 2015, Allure bought Rivington House from Village Care for $28 million, and several months later it paid the city $16.15 million to remove the restriction. After the city did so, the company resold it to the developer.
The subpoenas came from the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, according to a person with direct knowledge of the inquiry. The unit’s involvement suggests that the focus of the inquiry into possible wrongdoing was the companies that received the subpoenas, and not the city.
City Hall officials were not aware of any subpoenas being sent to the city. “We will cooperate with the A.G.’s investigation, any investigation, because we want to get to the bottom of what happened,” the mayor’s spokeswoman, Karen Hinton, said in a statement. The Wall Street Journal reported the inquiry on Tuesday.
A sale of a nonprofit asset like Rivington House would normally come to the attention of the attorney general’s Charities Bureau, which oversees the activities of nonprofits in the state. It was not clear what that office knew of the sale.
The State Health Department is also looking at the actions of Allure Group, which applied for state certification in 2014 and had it granted on the basis that it would provide nursing home beds. Those beds, the department said in a statement, were no longer occupied by the end of last year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that he did not know that his administration had agreed to lift the protections. After learning of the deal last month, he said that Allure Group had misled city officials by promising to keep the property as a for-profit nursing home.
“Someone should have said no farther down the food chain, and if they didn’t know how, they should have come to me and I would have said no very, very quickly,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, told reporters on Monday. “I want to know the same answer you’re looking for.””
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