HUD Official Gets Stuck In Elevator Amid Temporary NYC Public Housing Stay

Regional Housing and Urban Development Administrator Lynne Patton, left, and NYCHA Tenant Association President and resident host Carmen Quinones, look at trash bins used to catch a water leak, in the Douglas Houses ... Regional Housing and Urban Development Administrator Lynne Patton, left, and NYCHA Tenant Association President and resident host Carmen Quinones, look at trash bins used to catch a water leak, in the Douglas Houses in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. Patton is spending the next four weeks living in four different New York City Housing Authority buildings to get an up-close look at the city's troubled public housing developments by living there. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) MORE LESS
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February 19, 2019 5:41 p.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal housing official’s monthlong tour of New York City public housing complexes hit a speed bump when she got stuck in an elevator Tuesday.

Lynne Patton and 10 other people including reporters and photographers were trapped in an elevator at the Frederick Douglass Houses in Manhattan for about 10 minutes before being freed by firefighters.

“Thank you, New York’s Bravest! Sadly, NYCHA residents — elderly & disabled — endure this type of debilitating systematic failure on a regular basis,” Patton later posted on Facebook , using the acronym for the New York City Housing Authority.

Patton, the New York-New Jersey regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is spending four weeks living in four different NYCHA complexes.

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She spent last week at the Patterson Houses in the Bronx, where she joined an aerobics class and used an obscenity to describe the dilapidated state of some apartments.

She later posted on Twitter, “I don’t mince words & I’m not going to sugarcoat @NYCHA’s failures.”

Patton’s day at the Douglass Houses on Tuesday included visits to several apartments and a senior center. After the elevator got stuck on the 12th floor of one of the buildings, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary tweeted, “Overcrowding is suspected. No mechanical issues have been found, and the elevator was recently inspected.”

Patton’s NYCHA stays come after HUD Secretary Ben Carson and De Blasio announced a deal that averts a federal takeover of the housing authority. Under the agreement, HUD will appoint a federal monitor to oversee the authority but will stop short of taking over full control through receivership.

The housing authority’s 400,000 residents have long endured problems including vermin, mold and heat and hot water outages.

Authority chairwoman Shola Olatoye resigned last year after an investigation found that lead paint inspection reports had been falsified for years.

De Blasio, a Democrat, has blamed the authority’s woes on lack of funding from the federal and state governments as well as previous mayoral administrations. But Patton blamed “gross mismanagement” in a Facebook post.

Patton, an event planner best known for her work on the wedding of Trump’s son Eric, was widely criticized as unqualified when the president appointed her to the HUD job.

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