NYCHA officially has a new federal monitor that will oversee the city’s public housing system, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Friday.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced in a release that Bart Schwartz, current chairman of private investigations firm Guidepost Solutions, will serve as the federal monitor of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
The monitor will ensure, according to HUD, that NYCHA “satisfies the conditions of a recently announced agreement to correct chronically poor housing conditions endured by its residents.”
Specifically, Swartz will observe key operations at the country’s largest public housing system, especially concerning lead safety, heat, pest control and elevators. As monitor he will also submit quarterly reports to HUD and the Southern District of New York and personally engage with NYCHA residents.
“We’ve found the person with the perfect experience to work with the nation’s largest public housing authority under our agreement to reverse the chronic housing problems that for far too long have plagued hundreds of thousands of families,” Carson said in a statement. “With Mr. Schwartz’s appointment, NYCHA can move full steam ahead on an action plan to improve the deplorable housing conditions being endured by its residents.”
Who is Bart Schwartz, NYCHA federal monitor?
Prior to his position as chairman of Guidepost Solutions, Schwartz was a trial lawyer and chief of the Southern District of New York’s Criminal Division for which he led prosecutions over financial and business fraud along with organized crime, narcotics and more.
Schwartz was hired by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate possible fraud in the Buffalo Billion program, a state effort to spur the city’s economy. He has served as a federal montor in cases involving General Motors and Deutsche Bank, THE CITY reported.
Schwartz also conducted fundraising and oversight for the All Stars Project, according to THE CITY, which is a nonprofit founded by Lenora Fulani, a controversial activist, per the site, who has criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to raise funds for desperately-needed NYCHA apartment upgrades by privatizing management for public housing buildings.
The need for a NYCHA federal monitor was announced at the end of January when de Blasio and Carson signed a deal to address the authority’s history of maintenance issues and coverups that have threatened the safety and quality of life of its 400,000 residents.
As Schwartz begins his federal monitor role, HUD says it will continue to provide NYCHA 1.5 billion this year, or $28.8 million a week.
Under the partnership, New York City will invest an additional $1 billion over the next four years and $200,000 per year after that, for a total of $2.2 billion in city money to address NYCHA issues over 10 years.