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Comptroller releases audit results in mayor's Rivington House scandal

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Political reporter Dave Evans has the details.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Monday released the findings of an audit into the Rivington House scandal plaguing Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Lower East Side nursing home treated the poor and those with AIDS, but somehow, the city let it be sold. And developers then flipped it for a $72 million profit.

That seems to fly in the face of what the mayor claims he stands for -- affordable housing, especially for the poor.

"There was a real disconnect between City Hall and the agency they're supposed to run," Stringer said. "Clearly, they were not communicating."

The audit found that the deed for Rivington was changed and the building sold by mistake, and no one at City Hall caught the error.

The audit also determined that:
--Supervisors required weekly updates, but their memos were ignored.
--City officials undervalued the property by tens of millions of dollars.
--City Hall did notthing to stop the pending sale once it was alerted.

Dozens of administrators at City Hall and three deputy mayors knew about the change, but did the mayor?

"We found no evidence of discussions between them and the mayor that we could find," Stringer said.

De Blasio, at a news confernece touting better school scores, admitted that the Rivington deal was a mistake.

"On the bigger situation, we've answered it, period," he said. "I didn't know about it. I would have vetoed it. We have reforms in place, and that will never happen again. It's as simple as that."

Still, all the audits and probes are hurting the mayor. A new poll shows that 51 percent disapprove of the job he's doing, while only 42 percent approve. But that same poll shows de Blasio would easily beat Stringer in an election.

The bottom line on the audit is that nothing illegal transpired, just a a colossal mistake by city officials. But it's also not the last we'll hear about Rivington. Others are investigating, including the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Related Topics:
politicspoliticsnew york city politicsbill de blasioNew York City
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