Tuesday, September 27, 2016
More Democrat run government corruption. Here De Blasio's Deputy Mayor pulls the "I can't remember" schtick.
First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris suffered numerous memory lapses about the Rivington Street nursing-home fiasco, telling investigators more than two dozen times that he couldn’t recall incidents, emails or details, records show.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s right-hand man claimed he couldn’t remember a meeting with Stacey Cumberbatch, a city commissioner, or the content of any conversations they had about Rivington in 2014.
His schedule showed a July 25, 2014, meeting with Cumberbatch, then head of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, where the deal was on the agenda.
Shorris also said he believed his decision that the property should remain a nursing home — rather than be sold on the open market — was communicated to the agency.
But he couldn’t recall how.
“I’ve asked myself that question. I do not remember the exact mechanism. I just don’t,” he told investigators for city Comptroller Scott Stringer, according to a transcript of the July 27 interview obtained by The Post through public-disclosure laws.
Asked if he had met with Cumberbatch about Rivington in 2014, Shorris replied, “Probably. I can’t say I remember exactly.”
For decades, the Lower East Side nursing home had been preserved as a nonprofit health care facility under two deed restrictions imposed by the city.
City Hall got involved in the matter in 2014 after Local 1199 of SEIU, the biggest union backer of de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral run, expressed concern that a sale would cost jobs at the site.
In 2015, the property was sold to a for-profit health care firm, the Allure Group, and later that year, the city lifted both property restrictions in exchange for $16.1 million.
But the site was sold again in February 2016 to a luxury housing developer at a $72 million profit — resulting in four investigations of how things went awry.
The interview transcript shows investigators grilled Shorris about his claim that he didn’t learn about the February 2016 sale until after it happened, even though emails show members of his staff discussed the pending sale in December 2015.
When investigators tried to press Shorris over the two-month lapse, his lawyer, G. Michael Bellinger, repeatedly intervened.
”He already answered that question. Don’t answer it again,” Bellinger said. “I’m instructing him not to answer that question.”
A City Hall spokesman said Shorris will be testifying at a City Council hearing on the Rivington House deal Thursday.