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Bill Thompson Lays Into NYCHA Chair John Rhea, Calling For His Firing

By Erin Durkin
June 13, 2013

Mayoral hopeful says he’s had “enough” of NYCHA chair John Rhea, whose firing he demanded Thursday.

“Enough, just, it’s enough,” Thompson told the crowd at a mayoral forum focused on Hurricane Sandy recovery.

Thompson called for Rhea’s head citing as the last straw what he called a failure to prepare for federal funding cuts, which officials warned could lead to hundreds of layoffs, but Thursday night he ticked off a long list of grievances with the public housing boss.

“There’s a billion dollars, first, that is sitting there, that the housing authority has been sitting on, for not weeks, not months, it’s years,” he said, referring to Daily News reports last year on nearly a billion dollars in unspent federal funds.

He slapped the authority for its “huge number of vacant apartments,” saying, “They’re warehousing apartments – we know that. They’re warehousing apartments. Let’s put those apartments back on the rolls.”

He went on to criticize the authority’s failure to install security cameras despite City Council funding and ripped the proposal to build market rate housing on vacant NYCHA land as a “terrible idea.”

“Let’s change the structure of the housing authority. Let’s bring in a chairperson who understands housing for a chance, not a business person, not a Wall Street person.”

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