New York, NY – Claims by Mayor Bill de Blasio that he was completely in the dark about the hugely criticized dealings involving a Lower East Side nursing home are ringing hollow as word emerges that members of his administration desperately tried to undo a mistake that lifted a deed restriction on the property, allowing the new owners to flip the building to a real estate developer.
As previously reported on TOT News, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services lifted a deed restriction on the Rivington House property in November 2015.
That move paved the way for the Allure Group, the new owners of the property, to flip the property this past February to a luxury condominium developer for $116 million, recognizing a $72 million profit.
The New York Post reported yesterday that the mayor said on March 28 that he had just recently learned about the deal, but as much as a month earlier, members of the de Blasio administration were frantically trying to back out of the deal.
On February 24, James Patchett, chief of staff for Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, offered to refund the $16.1 million Allure had paid to have the deed restriction lifted on Rivington House.
A source said that Patchett told a spokesperson for Allure that in exchange for the refund, the property would need to be kept as either a long term care facility or converted to affordable housing, a pet project of de Blasio’s, saying that that was what “the Mayor’s Office wants.”
Allure advised Patchett that the property had already been sold and it was too late to back out of the deal.
Patchett tried once again to backpedal on the deal, telling the Allure representative that the situation was an “important issue to us” and saying that he would “highly encourage” Allure to allow City Hall to issue the refund that would return the deed restriction to the property.
The de Blasio administration has insisted that Allure made representations to them that the property would be kept as a long term care facility, allegations that have been denied by Allure.
Sources said that Allure told the city on numerous occasions that having made the $16.1 million payment to lift the deed restriction, it could not afford to keep the property as a nursing home.