Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest pick to lead the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (The Projects) left out important details while testifying about the agency’s lead paint scandal, including how officials failed to properly investigate whether children are being exposed to lead poisoning, according to documents obtained by The New York Post. The publication got hold of a letter written by federal monitor, Bart Schwartz, which essentially said Interim NYCHA Chairwoman Kathryn Garcia potentially misled the public by not revealing that officials relied solely on resident disclosure forms to determine where children under 6 years of age reside.
Testing Deadline Questionable
Schwartz was appointed to oversee NYCHA as part of an agreement Mayor de Blasio entered into with federal prosecutors back in January to settle a lawsuit that accused city officials of covering up squalid living conditions in the city’s low-income public housing units or “the Projects.” Schwartz also said Garcia painted “too rosy a picture” for the completion of lead tests in about 135,000 apartments, saying it would take at least two years beyond the 2020 deadline she offered the City Council during testimony last month.
Former NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye resigned last year after a series of scandals that included a damning report by the city’s Department of Investigation, which said she and other officials had lied to the Department of Housing and Urban Development about conducting mandatory annual testing for lead paint issues. Schwartz said Garcia’s assertion that NYCHA was only able to identify 2,559 lead-tainted units occupied by the “most vulnerable kids” was incorrect.
He said, based on Garcia’s own admission, NYCHA has made no other efforts to identify at-risk children who live in or frequently visit lead paint-tainted units in the projects. Schwartz said NYCHA has not spoken with building managers, has not conducted site visits or reviewed city records that might provide the agency with accurate information about children at risk of lead poisoning. He also accused Garcia of not having a proper basis to testify that x-ray testing for lead paint in 135,000 apartments would be completed by the end of 2020. Based on the current pace of testing, it would take the agency about 58 months to complete the testing of all 135,000 units, he said.
Lead Poisoning and Children
Children under 6 are said to be at the highest risk when it comes to lead poisoning, which is why it is even more important for NYCHA to get an accurate estimate of how many of these vulnerable children are either living in “the Projects” or visit these developments.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the key to prevent lead poisoning is to stop children from coming into contact with lead and identifying and treating kids who have been poisoned by lead. Lead hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and eliminated.
Lead poisoning can affect virtually every body organ including the child’s central nervous system, kidneys and reproductive system. At high levels, lead can cause coma, convulsions and even death. Even low lead levels in children may result in adverse effects such as decreased intelligence, impaired development, decreased stature and growth, behavioral issues and impaired hearing. Since childhood lead poisoning often doesn’t produce distinctive clinical symptoms, it may go unrecognized.
Understanding Your Rights
Whether you live in privately owned buildings or the Projects, as a tenant, you have the right to a safe and healthy environment. If you live in public or private housing, and your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords for damages.
You may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, cost of diagnostic tests, permanent injuries, lost income and benefits, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. A knowledgeable New York City lead poisoning lawyer will be able to help you file the lawsuit and compile the evidence that is required to hold the agency accountable for its negligence (carelessness).
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If your child has been affected by lead poisoning or if you have been injured by dilapidated conditions in your home, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance full policy of one million dollars. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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