James Johnson, the monitor overseeing Westchester County’s fair housing settlement with the federal government, has filed a motion with the court to compel County Executive Rob Astorino, the Republican candidate for governor, to attend a sworn deposition at his office in Manhattan.
The motion says the topics will include communications with Westchester municipalities, the county Planning Department and the legislature regarding compliance with the settlement, Astorino’s public statements about the settlement and the county’s efforts to educate the public about fair housing.
In arguing for the order, Johnson, a lawyer with Debevoise & Plimpton, said officials in Astorino’s office had mischaracterized the county’s obligations under the settlement, the settlement’s objectives, the monitor’s role and positions taken by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“These communications and statements have served to undermine the Settlement and confuse the public,” he wrote. “They represent potential violations of some of the County’s Settlement obligations.”
Instead of educating the public about the benefits of integrated communities and affordable housing, Astorino and others in his office “have for years done the opposite,” Johnson wrote.
The order also applies to Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, Commissioner of Planning Edward Burroughs, Deputy Commissioner of Planning Norma Drummond, Special Assistant to the County Executive Mary Mahon, Chief of Staff George Oros and Director of Communications Ned McCormack.
Johnson also filed his biennial report Thursday. Check back with lohud.com for updates.
Photo: Federal housing monitor James Johnson, right, speaks during a press conference with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, second from right, Feb. 16, 2010 in White Plains. Also pictured, Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett. left, and Mary Mahon, second from left. ( Tania Savayan / The Journal News )