Embattled NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye will step down from the beleaguered public housing agency she was appointed to run four years ago, officials announced Tuesday. She will officially leave NYCHA at the end of the month.
The move comes after Olatoye, 43, has come under increasing criticism for NYCHA conditions, including a Department of Investigation inquiry late last year that unveiled she falsely certified lead paint inspections in roughly 55,000 units to federal regulators.
Olatoye made her resignation announcement at Ocean Bay Bayside Houses in the Rockaways alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio, who appointed her to the agency and who toured the public housing complex Tuesday morning.
The mayor has tapped Stanley Brezenoff as interim chair of NYCHA. De Blasio previously appointed Brezenoff to be the interim head of the city’s Health + Hospitals in 2016, an organization he ran in the early 1980s.
“With a proven track record of transforming large agencies, I’m confident that Stan Brezenoff will help to continue our progress while we search for a new chair,” de Blasio said Monday.
Of his new postition, Brezenoff said he is “committed to working with residents, finding new solutions and making progress that people will see and feel in their communities.” He also called the NYCHA chair “one of the toughest jobs in America.”
On Monday, de Blasio called Olatoye, a “change agent from Day One,” adding that NYCHA “crime is down. Repairs are faster. Finances are stabilized and NYCHA is putting record investment from the city to work making life better for the 400,000 New Yorkers that call NYCHA home.”
Olatoya said her time as NYCHA chair was “an honor” and that she leaves the agency “secure in the knowledge that we created a path for a stronger and safer NYCHA in the years ahead.”
“The departure of Chairwoman Shola Olatoye is a disappointment, despite the scandals that rattled her and the authority in recent months,” state Sen. Gustavo Rivera said in a statement. “Ms. Olatoye recognized the need and the complexity of bringing our public housing stock into the 21st century. I am saddened that she will no longer be on the front lines of our fight.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement that Olatoye’s resignation “allows our city to move forward. A leadership change at NYCHA is a welcome step towards rebuilding the reputation of the agency.”