A newly-disclosed email exchange between two top de Blasio officials suggests the administration misled the City Council about the ouster of a whistleblower who accused the mayor of corruption.
On March 13, 2017 Lisette Camilo, head of the city’s Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services, testified to the council that Ricardo Morales was forced from his job as a deputy commissioner at her agency for reasons that had “nothing to do with Rivington.”
According to the email thread — which was released as part of Morales’ wrongful termination suit against the city — the comment shocked de Blasio employees who were watching Camilo get grilled.
“Did Lisette really say morales firing wasn’t related to rivington?” asked then de Blasio press secretary Eric Phillips in one of the emails.
“Yes. That’s what we were told she had to say for legal reasons,” replied Jon Paul Lupo, de Blasio’s former director of intergovernmental affairs.
Camilo had been referring in her testimony to Rivington House, a Lower East Side nursing home that was sold to a developer in 2015 resulting in a $72 million profit.
The feds probed the transaction because the city lifted deed restrictions, paving the way for the seller and subsequent buyer—both repped by a major de Blasio donor—to cash in on the site.
Morales has said publicly that he cooperated with the probe and gave “truthful testimony” about alleged wrongdoing by the mayor and other city officials.
However, he was fired the same day the feds interviewed de Blasio in 2017 about the deal.
Morales has claimed that de Blasio officials interceded “on behalf of politically connected donors in order to aid their attempts to gain favorable terms in dealings with the City.”
After getting canned, Morales sued for wrongful termination.
Manhattan Federal Court Magistrate Debra Freeman, who is overseeing the case, wrote in a recent ruling that the email exchange suggests his “termination was, in fact, related to Rivington, but that officials senior to Camilo had told her that she ‘had to say’ otherwise.”
Freeman granted Morales request for the emails and to depose Lupo—over the de Blasio administration’s objections.
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who was one of the members questioning Camilo at the hearing, was surprised by the disclosure.
“I’m deeply disappointed in the administration for lying under oath and for doing so with knowledge and willfully,” Kallos said.
“I understand the litigation risk that they were dealing with however there were numerous other questions that were answered with, ‘We can’t answer due to ongoing litigation,’” Kallos said.
“I think we need to look into holding this administration accountable if they come before the council and swear under oath it needs to be the truth,” Kallos said.
Morales’s lawyer, Robert Kraus, told The Post “The email exchange plainly shows that City Hall knowingly manufactured a false narrative for the City Council…to conceal the true story, which is that it fired by client for being an honest government official who stood up to corruption in connection with Rivington.”
Mayoral spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein countered that “Ricardo Morales was fired for performance issues. That’s not narrative, that’s fact.”
Phillips declined to comment and Lupo did not return a message.