As if New York City did not have enough corruption of it own, the administration of Mayor Bill di Blasio has reached into New Jersey and recruited an operative named Bill Crawley for a key post in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). As pointed out by investigative reporter Gerard Flynn on the Gothamist website:
Bill Crawley is the former CEO of a controversial Newark non-profit disbanded in 2011 amid allegations of millions of dollars in graft and a pay-to-play scandal that sent Newark’s deputy mayor to federal prison.
Newark’s deputy mayor may have gone to prison, but Cory Booker, then Mayor and now U.S. Senator, skated. Booker’s political organization was thoroughly corrupt. Crawley headed an entity called the Newark Downtown Core Redevelopment Corporation (NDCRC) that offered lucrative contracts in exchange for donations to Booker’s political campaign’s and pet causes.
The nonprofit NDCRC was founded in 2005 to buy land for the Prudential Center and revitalize the area around the arena, which is today the home of the New Jersey Devils of the NHL.
The NDCRC saga has been underexplored and underreported. In 2013, we reviewed public documents and pieced together the basics of NDCRC corruption. The New York Post covered the story on October 13, 2013, but there has been surprisingly little interest by the local New Jersey media, even while Booker was a Senate candidate. One thing is certain, however. Bill Crawley left New Jersey amid a score of unanswered questions and piles of unaccounted-for funds.
Ken Boehm, head of the National Legal and Policy Center, a right-leaning political corruption watchdog group, said he was puzzled as to why the city would hire the key player in a development scheme where “so much money disappeared” to oversee development for the country’s largest public housing authority.
“Millions of dollars were spent on a plan for all sorts of improvements and the whole thing fell apart and the public never was given a detailed explanation about what happened to the money.”
Also from the Gothamist:
“Given the problems plaguing the redevelopment of downtown Newark, the New York City Housing Authority should look very closely at anyone in that development. Maybe they did. I don’t know. At the same time, if they didn’t look, they may be in for a surprise,” he said.
“Huge sums of money were appropriated. Contracts were signed and yet in the end what did the public get? Not very much.”