A top city official wasn’t fired because of his role in a controversial land deal that allowed a non-profit nursing home to be converted to luxury housing — but his boss refused to say Monday if he was ousted because of other federal investigations.
The axed official, Ricardo Morales, who served as a deputy commissioner at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, was at the center of two deals now being probed by federal investigators.
One was the lifting of deed restrictions on Rivington House, a Lower East Side nursing home, that eventually led to its sale for luxury condos.
The other involves a de Blasio supporter’s efforts to lock down a sweetheart lease for his now-closed Queens restaurant, the Water’s Edge.
When asked at a City Council budget hearing Monday whether Morales’ firing had anything to do with Water’s Edge or its owner Harendra Singh, DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo declined to say, describing it as a “personnel issue.”
Prosecutors are examining whether Singh, a major contributor to de Blasio, got any breaks.
“Personnel issues are very sensitive. I’m not at liberty to discuss that right now,” a flustered Camilo added.
She also refused to answer a question about Morales’ possible cooperation with federal authorities.
But she insisted it had “nothing to do with Rivington.”
Camilo said she made the decision to get rid of Morales and informed first Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris.