She’s a Bill de Blasio appointee (February 2014).
From NY Post: Embattled Housing Authority chair Shola Olatoye is working overtime to keep her job — by getting paid underlings to mount a public relations campaign on her behalf before an oversight hearing next week. A form letter created by two New York City Housing Authority staffers has been circulated to tenant associations, urging that they sign a petition praising Olatoye as a great leader.
Tenant leaders also say they’ve received phone calls as part of the unprecedented PR push after NYCHA was found to have falsely claimed for years that it had been inspecting apartments annually for lead paint.
“NYCHA residents overwhelmingly support Chair Shola Olatoye because she has improved public housing and is making a significant difference in our lives as well as the lives of our children and grandchildren,” reads the form letter. Anyone who is standing-up for NYCHA residents and has any knowledge of public housing understands that the Chair is the right person to continue leading the Authority.”
The letter also takes a shot at the Council ahead of what’s sure to be a heated oversight hearing on Tuesday, warning that tenants supposedly fear it’s going to devolve into “political theatre [sic]” and grandstanding.
Even after NYCHA officials discovered in mid-2016 that they had been violating city and federal laws requiring lead paint inspections since late 2012, they never informed tenants about the dangerous lapse.
This includes four years without inspections at more than 4,200 units that house children younger than 6, who are most susceptible to the health dangers of elevated lead levels.
Mayor de Blasio also knew about the failings as early as April 2016, but has suggested the city wasn’t obligated to inform residents about it — characterizing doing so as going “an extra mile.”
He also didn’t move to discipline any employees until after the city’s Department of Investigation issued a scathing report on the scandal earlier this month.
The City-Wide Council of Presidents, a tenant group that represents NYCHA developments, was quick to issue a harsh condemnation of the self-serving petition. “The residents of NYCHA will not be used as pawns to further NYCHA’s self-interest,” the group wrote in a statement obtained by The Post.
“The City-Wide Council of Presidents will not stand by while NYCHA attempts to ‘spin’ the lead paint fiasco into something else. NYCHA has severely jeopardized the health and safety of the residents and while this is far from their first offense, it is certainly the final straw.”
Council member Rafael Salamanca (D-Bronx) also slammed the NYCHA outreach efforts as “spin.”
“The reality is that lead paint testing is a serious issue in my mind and the minds of my public housing constituents,” said Salamanca, who has previously called for Olatoye to resign in the wake of the scandal. “We want answers and progress instead of a letter seeking support.”
Data embedded in the circulating letter indicates it was created by NYCHA community coordinators Makeba Price and Denise Guess. NYCHA officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The mayor has been downplaying the fiasco by claiming just four children in NYCHA units tested positive for lead poisoning since 2014. But the city has no idea how many children living in public housing were never tested.
Health Department data from 2016 shows that only 51 percent of children citywide were tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2, despite being required by state law.