Bloomy vs. Thompson II: Mayor sues comptroller over jail reopening

‘House’ fire! Thompson blocks Bloomy again at jail
The Brooklyn Paper / Mike McLaughlin

The mayoral election has been resolved, but Mayor Bloomberg is still bashing outgoing Comptroller Bill Thompson — this time over the controversial Brooklyn House of Detention.

This morning, the Bloomberg administration sued Thompson, alleging that the comptroller shirked his duties by failing to green light a contract that would have allowed renovations and, eventually, the reopening of the long-shuttered Atlantic Avenue lockup.

The latest battle between the city’s two top officials is the culmination of years of fighting over the House of D, which the city wants to expand and reopen, a plan that Thompson has blocked.

In the latest kerfuffle, Thompson refused to register the increasingly expensive renovation contract last month, so Bloomberg used a procedural maneuver that, he said, required Thompson to sign off on the deal.

Thompson ignored the supposed mandate, prompting today’s suit.

“We had hoped that the comptroller’s personal disagreement with administration policy regarding the project would not cause him to his ignore his statutory obligation,” said Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, the city’s top lawyer. “Unfortunately, that is not the case.”

Bloomberg’s lawyers were quick to point out that the contract in question would pave the way for an environmental review of the project — one of the opposition’s key demands.

Thompson emerged last year as a leader of the community groups and local politicians against reopening and expanding the jail, which many Boerum Hill locals see as unsafe if reopened.

This morning, Thompson was sticking to his guns.

“The comptroller has acted properly in … protecting the public fiscally,” said spokesman Mike Loughran.

The Department of Correction has long said that the prison would offer much-needed relief to antiquated and overpopulated facilities on Rikers Island and cut down on the cost and security risk of transporting Brooklyn inmates to and from Rikers. The agency did not get back to us in time for our lock-tight online deadline.

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