Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday called it “surprising to say the least” that President Donald Trump reportedly would appoint an event planner who organized the wedding of Trump’s son Eric as the federal housing czar for the region.
De Blasio, on his weekly #AskTheMayor radio show on WNYC, was reacting to news media reports that the administration had appointed Lynne Patton as Region II director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Look, like many things in the Trump universe, we’re dealing with things we’ve never seen here before,” de Blasio, a Democrat who held the regional director’s job during Bill Clinton’s presidency, told host Brian Lehrer. “Folks in that role historically have had, you know, substantial background in government or in housing, et cetera.”
Patton, who couldn’t be reached Friday for comment, has organized golf tournaments and had been working at the federal agency under HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
Patton’s LinkedIn profile, which features her giving a thumbs up in the Oval Office behind Trump, says she has been working as Carson’s senior adviser and director of public engagement. She also worked as “senior adviser & family liaison” to Trump’s presidential campaign and was vice president of the Eric Trump foundation, her profile says.
The region II director is responsible for administering federal housing programs in New York and New Jersey.
In a letter dated Friday and posted to her Facebook page, Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) demanded that Trump remove Patton “immediately.”
“This is not ‘The Apprentice’; the federal government is not your personal patronage system,” Meng wrote.
In a statement, New York City Housing Authority chairwoman and chief executive Shola Olatoye said, “We look forward to working closely with the new HUD Region II Director as we continue to provide and improve housing for 600,000 New Yorkers.”
Olatoye said she hoped “the new director will continue HUD’s commitment to public housing and Section 8 as we strive to provide safe, clean and connected communities for New York City.”