Monday, October 1, 2012
Liu looking into golf course
From the NY Times:
Were we to commit ourselves to making a master list of what New York City needs more of, it is fair to say that many of us would wear a third or fourth pencil down to the nub before settling on an 18-hole golf course and the increased presence of Donald J. Trump. And yet, with the renovation of a major portion of Ferry Point Park in the southeastern section of the Bronx, this is what New Yorkers will receive.
The city is spending $97 million to construct a public golf course in the park; it is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014 and to be operated by Trump National and International Golf Clubs. At that point, residents of a borough where more than 30 percent of people live below the poverty line will have what will surely be seen as a welcome opportunity to improve their handicaps (for green fees higher than those at most municipal courses).
The construction of the golf course, which has a long and embattled history — the budget, to cite one aspect, has swelled by $40 million since 2008 — gained renewed attention last week after The Daily News reported that MFM, a contracting company the city is using on the project, had been linked to a troubled outfit, Felix Associates. MFM’s owners have a passive financial interest in Felix Associates, one of whose principals pleaded guilty to bribery charges two years ago.
Although MFM has not been accused of any wrongdoing, the city’s Department of Investigation had recommended that the Department of Parks and Recreation consider hiring an auditor to oversee dealings with the company. The parks department chose not to do so.
Further sullying matters is the unrelated fact that elevated levels of methane gas have been found just outside the golf course’s perimeter during construction. The Ferry Point golf course will sit on a former landfill.
From the Daily News:
The city controller has begun looking at cost overruns and delays at the golf course the city is building for Donald Trump in the Bronx, the Daily News has learned.
Last Thursday, Controller John Liu sent city Parks Commissioner Veronica White notice that he was reexamining the agency’s handling of the project, which is behind schedule and has ballooned in cost to at least $97 million from $22.5 million.
Liu is reopening a 2007 audit by then-Controller William Thompson that found lax oversight by the Parks Department caused the city to lose $25 million in overpayments and potential earnings at the project.
On Thursday, Liu informed Parks that the audit “will determine whether the Parks Department carried out or implemented recommendations” from that prior audit.