From the NY Times:
In a scathing critique of the Bloomberg administration’s oversight practices, New York City’s top fiscal watchdog has accused the city’s main agency for economic development of allowing a contract with a construction company to balloon by tenfold in three years to nearly $74 million, and authorizing over $3 million in dubious payments.
The [EDC] audit is the latest in an increasingly hostile battle between the agency, which has become a vital vehicle for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s aggressive development agenda, and Mr. Liu, whose office must approve the corporation’s contract with the city every year.
According to the audit, the agency approved 21 changes between July 2008 and January 2010 to a contract with Turner Construction Company, which was asked to provide facility management and construction management services at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Essex Street Market building and other sites. As a result, the contract’s value jumped to $73.5 million, from $7.5 million.
The audit says the agency authorized $3.3 million in “inappropriate and questionable payments” to Turner. They include improper reimbursements for unsubstantiated expenses and unnecessary costs for loading, storing and transporting contaminated soil from the Brooklyn Army Terminal site.
Referring to an alarming “lack of involvement,” the audit says the agency demonstrated a “total reliance” on the construction company and “relinquished far too much control and supervision in reviewing and overseeing the work carried out by Turner.”
Mr. Liu said, “Given the ongoing economic and budget uncertainties, we can neither tolerate nor afford business as usual at the E.D.C.”