The head of 1 of the biggest operators of homeless shelters in New York City was fired on Monday as Bronx prosecutors opened a felony investigation into allegations of a lengthy pattern of sexual abuse and economic misconduct that had gone mainly unchecked by his Firm and town.
The executive, Victor Rivera, had helped identified the Bronx Mother or father Housing Network, and in excess of two decades had overseen its development into An important service provider of housing and products and services whilst the town’s homeless population climbed to file numbers.
The investigation and dismissal of Mr. Rivera adopted an investigation with the The big apple Instances, which located that 10 Women of all ages, including homeless Women of all ages being in his organization’s shelters, experienced accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Two of These Gals mentioned Mr. Rivera experienced coerced them into accomplishing oral sexual intercourse. Mr. Rivera also applied his nonprofit, the Bronx Mother or father Housing Network, to enrich himself and his household, The Moments found.
Hrs once the story was posted, Mayor Monthly bill de Blasio requested a sweeping audit of the city’s $two billion homeless shelter Procedure. The Bronx Parent Housing Network is one of about 70 teams that operate shelters for town.
In an announcement launched on Monday, the board of administrators with the Bronx Mother or father Housing Community said it had fired Mr. Rivera, 60, and condemned what it called his “abhorrent and abusive conduct.” In reaction for the Occasions’s conclusions, the town experienced already directed the nonprofit to hire a lawyer to assessment Mr. Rivera’s steps, and also the group stated it supported the Women of all ages who had come ahead.
“B.P.H.N. recognizes how tricky this has to be and it is dedicated to function a resource for his or her therapeutic, not an obstacle,” the board mentioned inside the assertion.
Mr. Rivera has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, As well as in a past statement said he experienced often treated Females with respect. He called the allegations “unfair, baseless and with out benefit.”
A spokeswoman to the Place of work of your Bronx district lawyer, Darcel D. Clark, mentioned prosecutors had been investigating the allegations while in the Situations’s story but did not specify if they would study the accusations of sexual abuse or monetary improprieties, which incorporated Mr. Rivera steering contracts to his associates and entangling his nonprofit with for-earnings ventures he ran.
“We have been investigating wherever the evidence sales opportunities,” the spokeswoman, Patrice O’Shaughnessy, reported.
Tim Gilbert, a spokesman to the Bronx Mum or dad Housing Network, declined to answer distinct questions about why the board had not acted quicker when accusations mounted against Mr. Rivera.
“We're seeking into these troubles and cannot examine the small print in the mean time,” Mr. Gilbert stated.
Mr. Rivera’s treatment of ladies were greatly talked about inside the Bronx Mum or dad Housing Community lately, previous workers told The Instances.
The Business compensated a blended $175,000 in confidential settlements in 2017 and 2019 to 2 former personnel who accused Mr. Rivera of sexual harassment and assault, documents showed. One of them had instructed the New York law enforcement that Mr. Rivera slapped her and compelled her to conduct oral intercourse in a shelter where she worked.
A homeless female also complained to your The big apple Department of Social Services, which oversees shelter operators, about being sexually harassed by Mr. Rivera in 2017. But town referred her criticism back for the Bronx Guardian Housing Network, which made a decision it absolutely was unfounded. As well as a former staff despatched a companywide e mail in 2018, alluding to Mr. Rivera’s abusive conduct and explained he was quitting simply because as a father of the youthful Female, he would “be devastated to understand that she could well be preyed on by a predator which includes leverage more than her.”
Mr. Rivera Started the Bronx Parent Housing Community in 2000 with Others from his church. Because just 2017, his Group has received $274 million in town funding to operate Virtually 70 web-sites of homeless housing.
But as town funding arrived in, Mr. Rivera’s private fortunes also grew. He enmeshed his for-income housing companies Using the finances of his nonprofit, steered rewarding contracts to mates and associates, and delivered Employment to various users of his relatives, The Periods found.
A whistle-blower informed the city Office of Social Products and services about Mr. Rivera’s nepotism and conflicts of interest in 2017, and the city placed the group on the Exclusive observe list. But Mr. Rivera ongoing to search out approaches to profit himself and his associates, The Situations uncovered.
The nonprofit’s board For a long time was filled with buddies and associates of Mr. Rivera, The Occasions observed. In a preceding statement, an attorney for your Bronx Guardian Housing Network said the many board associates with probable conflicts experienced resigned. While in the Corporation’s early days, the law firm mentioned, Mr. Rivera experienced relied on his own contacts to build his operation.
The Bronx Guardian Housing Network board on Monday named Ululy Rafael Martinez, an attorney, as its new president.