Saturday, November 18, 2017
Legal Bill for NYCHA FLUBS Might Cost TAXPAYERS $100M
The city Housing Authority’s widening lead-paint scandal could cost taxpayers more than $100 million, leading personal-injury lawyers told The Post on Friday.
The DOI found that NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye filed federal paperwork that falsely claimed 55,000 apartments had been tested annually for lead-paint hazards and signed one form last year even though she knew it wasn’t true.
“Federal court judges have immense power to fashion remedies. The court could significantly fine them for falsifying documents. Somebody could go to jail,” said Vilensky, who’s not involved in the suit filed last month.
If Manhattan federal Judge William Pauley orders court-monitored testing and lead abatement in contaminated apartments, the bill could easily reach $50 million, Vilensky said. In addition, suits against NYCHA on behalf of sick kids “could cost them $30 [million] to $40 million, possibly more,” he added.
Lawyer Reuven Frankel, another expert in lead-poisoning cases, said juries have awarded verdicts in the range of $1 million to $4 million per child, and “you have settlements north or south of that.”
“Multiply that by the number of kids you’re talking about — you’re talking about a lot of money,” he added.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer in the class-action case — Corey Stern, who’s also handling suits over the lead-tainted water in Flint, Mich. — pegged the total tab at $1 billion.
“I think $100 million is pretty low for what it’s going to cost the city,” Stern said. “I think the numbers of children affected has been grossly underestimated.”
NYCHA has claimed that only 17 of its apartments have been tied to kids with elevated levels of lead in their blood since 2010.
The class-action suit was filed by filed by two Brooklyn moms with lead-poisoned kids, one of whom lives in the Red Hook Houses — where court papers say NYCHA found lead paint in “an astonishing 93 percent of all apartments.”
Sherron Paige, said her son, Kyan Dickerson, 4, was diagnosed following a routine physical that found 12 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, more than twice the 5 micrograms the federal government considers “elevated.”
Paige — who coincidentally works for NYCHA — suspects her son was poisoned as a result of a leaky pipe that created a hole in her apartment’s hallway that flaked off paint and dust that “he kept touching.”
“His speech is delayed and everything,” she said. “He has a problem concentrating . . . he can’t stay on task for a long period of time. He gets distracted so easily.”
NYCHA declined to comment.