New York Daily News

18Ex-HUD big’s penalty

Trump appointee cited for NYCHA residents in GOP vid

- BY CHRIS SOMMERFELD­T

A former Trump administra­tion official was slapped with a fine and a four-year ban on public service Tuesday after admitting to using her government position to coax NYCHA residents into appearing in a Republican Party campaign video.

Lynne Patton, who served as the Housing and Urban Developmen­t Department’s regional New York administra­tor for most of Donald Trump’s presidency, solicited residents for the video — which aired at last year’s Republican National Convention — while living at New York City Housing Authority projects across the city in 2019 as part of a publicity tour, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

“During her approximat­ely one-month stay, Patton met residents and later leveraged one of these relationsh­ips to recruit participan­ts to film a video that would air at the RNC,” the office said in a statement. “Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administra­tion.”

Patton (photo) admitted she “improperly harnessed the authority of her federal position to assist the Trump campaign” in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using their official roles for blatantly partisan purposes, the Office of Special Counsel said.

A settlement agreement with the office bars Patton from serving in a government job for 48 months and also requires her to pay a $1,000 fine.

Despite copping the deal with the Office of Special Counsel, Patton did not appear contrite Tuesday.

“No length of debarment will ever be able to outlast the permanent & positive trajectory upon which @NYCHA is now advancing thanks to you & President @ realdonald­trump,” Patton tweeted at former HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who made a post in her defense after the Office of Special Counsel announceme­nt.

Patton, who left HUD before President Biden’s inaugurati­on, also claimed she can “sleep well” knowing NYCHA residents were never “tricked” into appearing in the Republican National Convention video.

The video, which was screened during the final night of the 2020 RNC, featured five NYCHA tenants blasting Mayor de Blasio’s handling of the Housing Authority. Their comments were put into the context that the Trump administra­tion was seeking to rectify de Blasio’s mismanagem­ent, prompting some of the NYCHA tenants featured in the video to speak out afterward in protest because they said they weren’t supporters of the former president.

Patton’s settlement Tuesday came in response to a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibi­lity and Ethics in Washington, a good-government group.

Noah Bookbinder, the group’s president, said Patton was wrong to claim she didn’t trick NYCHA residents into appearing in the video.

“She misled and exploited public housing residents for political gain, showing little regard for the people she was supposed to be helping,” Bookbinder said.

A vocal Trump supporter who worked for the former president’s family before coming to HUD, Patton drew controvers­y when she announced in early 2019 that she would stay at four NYCHA projects in the city as part of an effort to shed light on what she described as squalid conditions in the Housing Authority’s apartments.

“We went to a ton of s--thole apartments, as my boss would say,” Patton said on a Facebook livestream at the time, echoing Trump’s infamous insult about African countries. “We went to a ton of them. They are horrible.”

Despite Patton’s incendiary PR stunt, Trump’s administra­tion proposed in 2020 to slash nearly all federal funding for public housing authoritie­s like NYCHA. Such funding was reinstated only because Congress reinserted it into the budget.

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