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De Blasio's Top Deputy Falls On His Sword In Nursing Home Scandal

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to paper over the Rivington nursing home scandal by offering to build another facility.

CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reported this comes as his top deputy, Anthony Shorris, faced fierce grilling by the City Council over the debacle.

Shorris, de Blasio's first deputy, was on the City Council hot seat for nearly three hours as he was grilled about the controversial Rivington house deal in which the city allowed a nursing home to be developed into luxury condos despite stringent deed restrictions.

Shorris fell on his sword.

"I recognize that what happened here was not the right outcome for the community and the taxpayer," Shorris said. "Much of what happened here is clearly the city's responsibility."

Shorris admitted he was "ultimately accountable" for the deal in which a developer called the Allure Group headed by Joel Landau bought the property for $28 million, then paid the city $16 million to remove deed restrictions that stipulated the property be used as a health facility.

Three months later, the property was sold for $116 million – a $72 million profit.

Shorris also attempted to get out from under the scandal by saying the city has found another location on Pike Street on the Lower East Side to build affordable senior housing and assisted living units.

CBS2's Kramer asked Shorris if the administration thinks building the new facility will help the mayor dig out of the Rivington scandal.

"I don't think it deals with all of the issues," Shorris responded.

Council members said it won't make Rivington disappear.

"The Rivington scandal is too deep to be gotten out from under. The whole thing is just a debacle," said Councilman Rory Lancman, D-Queens.

Councilman Ben Kallos, D-Manhattan, said, "What happened at Rivington is wrong. There is no way that they dig out from this. Not only do they need to fix the policy, they need to change it so that something like this never happens again."

And in another attempt to get out from under the scandal, the city is also going to hold public hearings. Members of the public will be allowed to testify about proposed restrictions to dead restriction laws.

That hearing is Nov. 1.

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