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HUD picks former SDNY prosecutor Bart Schwartz to oversee New York public housing overhaul

Will supervise revamp of failing facilities

Earlier this month, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the Environmental Protection Agency moved to exert more control over the struggling New York City Housing Authority, which has been accused of repeatedly violating basic health and safety regulations.

The agreement establishes “specific requirements and milestones to address the serious health and safety hazards at NYCHA properties, including lead-based paint, mold, heat, vermin, among others.”

And part of the agreement involves the naming of a federal monitor who will be charged with overseeing the revamp of the NYCHA facilities and reporting back to the federal authorities about the NYCHA’s actions.

HUD announced Friday that it has chosen who will serve in that role: Bart Schwartz, a former prosecutor in the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York under Rudy Giuliani.

According to HUD, while at SDNY, Schwartz served as chief of the Criminal Division, where he led prosecutions involving financial and business fraud, organized crime, narcotics, and other types of criminal activity.

Schwartz is currently chairman of Guidepost Solutions, a company that provides “security, investigative, compliance and monitoring leadership” to clients, according to its website.

In his role as the federal monitor, Schwartz will “observe NYCHA’s key operations, especially as they relate to lead safety, heat, pest control, and elevators, submit quarterly reports to HUD and SDNY, and engage with NYCHA’s residents,” HUD said Friday.

According to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Schwartz is the “perfect” person for the job.

“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. “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.”

As part of the agreement, New York City is committing at least $2.2 billion in funding over the next 10 years to address the issues in NYCHA housing. HUD will also continue to provide funding to NYCHA, which is estimated to be $1.5 billion this year.

“I look forward to working to achieve living conditions for NYCHA residents that are decent, safe, and sanitary,” Schwartz said. “The Agreement serves as a blueprint that sets out my duties and responsibilities for achieving those goals.”

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