FORT GREENE — The city’s housing authority has been ‘botching’ maintenance of its buildings’ roofs, Comptroller Scott Stringer said Friday.
“NYCHA wasted millions and has put tens of millions of dollars at risk by installing new roofs and then botching inspections, then ignoring its own warranty agreements,” Stringer said at a press conference outside Ingersoll Houses in Fort Green.
Damages on 19 roofs have put $24.6 million in public money at risk, Stringer said. When 709 warranty-eligible roofs needed fixing after work orders were issued, NYCHA made use of its warranty with private companies just nine times, Comptroller’s report found.
“That’s unacceptable,” he said.
Stringer, a top-tier 2021 mayoral candidate, said that NCYHA’s roof upkeep woes are a “glaring example of mismanagement hat has plagued NYCHA for years.”
The press conference comes after an audit by the comptroller’s office found that NYCHA had failed to use its 20-year warranty, effectively wasting millions of public dollars.
“NYCHA is essentially lighting money on fire … when it doesn’t have to,” the comptroller said. “They’re letting private companies off the hook and sticking it to taxpayers and NYCHA tenants alike.”
“It’s outrageous,” Stringer added. “It’s gross negligence. Faulty roofs can turn a home into a horror.”
The inspections in the audit include 35 roofs in 13 NYCHA developments that have been replaced since 2000. Of the roofs looked at, almost 90 percent of them were in poor conditions, including sagging roofs, pooling water, mold, cracked surface, and other damages, according to the report.
His audit’s findings have uncovered such bad mismanagement that high-level NYCHA staffers should be fired, Stringer said.
“I think [the mayor] should call in every major overpaid executive that has allowed this to fester for years and years with no accountability. He should take this audit, dump it on the desk and say, ‘Enough is enough,'” Stringer said. “This mayor should walk into that building today, fire them, and then demand that they go through every single warranty and finally do something to help.”
At Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Houses, for example, the audit found displaced base flushing as well as a clogged drain and debris.
“I have senior where it’s raining in their apartments when it’s raining outside,” said Darold Burgess, the tenant leader at Ingersoll Houses. “It’s unfair. They shouldn’t have to live in dilapidated homes.”
In a statement, a NYCHA spokesperson said the comptroller’s audit and suggestion “are consistent with what the authority has been aware of and addressing through new systems we are already implementing.”
“In our July 17 response,” the spokesperson, Chester Soria, continued, “NYCHA agreed with many of his proposals, such as with our roof inspection and quality assurance process, and our record-keeping enhancements were underway before today’s report.”