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NYCHA tenants say they were misled into RNC video appearance

August 31, 2020 Associated Press
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Three of the four residents of New York City public housing whose criticisms of Mayor Bill de Blasio were used in a video at the Republican National Convention said they were never told their comments were to be showcased in that manner.

The New York Times reported Friday that Claudia Perez, Carmen Quinones and Manny Martinez didn’t know that their comments from an interview with Lynne Patton were going to be used in support of President Donald Trump.

Quinones, a Democrat, told the Times that Patton — a Trump administration appointee with the Department of Housing and Urban Development — had called her and asked her to bring together some people to speak about the city’s housing authority and their concerns, but that she was never told it would be part of the convention.

In the almost 2 1/2-minute video, four tenants are interspersed with clips of Trump and de Blasio. The tenants are heard criticizing the New York City mayor and praising the Trump administration’s efforts.

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Perez told the Times she meant what she said about the New York City Housing Authority, but was angry about being tricked into appearing in a convention video.

“I am not a Trump supporter,” she said. “I am not a supporter of his racist policies on immigration. I am a first-generation Honduran. It was my people he was sending back.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: John Minchillo/AP

The fourth person in the video was not mentioned in the Times’ story.

On Twitter, Patton pushed back strongly against the idea that the residents had been tricked, and condemned the Times, saying the reporter “refused multiple requests to have a joint conference call w/me & the residents to set the record straight.”

She said each resident appeared on tape in unaired portions thanking Trump for “the ‘RNC platform’ to highlight inhumane conditions and improvements” under this administration.

She said she showed the video prior to airing and was “told by them that it was ‘amazing’ and ‘wholly accurate.’”

The federal Hatch Act prohibits certain government employees from using their official positions for political activities. In a statement to the Times, Patton said the White House had cleared the video.

On Thursday night, de Blasio’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, criticized the video on Twitter.

“After decades of disinvestment, Mayor de Blasio has made historic investments in NYCHA,” he said. “But at least this much is true: The Mayor lives rent free in Trump’s head.”

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  1. Jacob Yahiayan

    Just to be clear NYCHA supported NYC Property tax payers is a failure as it needs to be shored up by the Federal Government. Whether it is NYT/AP stating otherwise is nothing more than hack journalism. NYC’s 40 agencies have mostly failed the small business property tax payers and New Yorkers whilst demonizing the NYPD as its budget was already decreasing. Feel free to view the New York Forward AV on YouTube which I sponsored for the facts; no politics just the facts.