Quantcast

City Paid $7M for Incomplete Work in Build It Back Program, Audit Says

By Katie Honan | March 31, 2015 5:20pm
 The Comptroller's Office released an audit of the program and found it still had major flaws.
The Comptroller's Office released an audit of the program and found it still had major flaws.
View Full Caption
NYC Build It Back

ARVERNE — The city's Build It Back program paid $6.8 million for "flawed or incomplete" work and contractors double billed the city by hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to an audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer.

The audit, released Tuesday, looked at the Single Family Program, which was geared towards homeowners of one- to four-family units, between June 1, 2013 and Aug. 1, 2014.

Stringer found that homeowners still struggled through the confusing program, learning about their experiences first hand at hearings held across the city

“New York City’s response to Sandy was a case study in dysfunction,” Stringer said after presenting the results in Arverne, a neighborhood hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. 

Stringer's office found that contractors were sometimes paid even before work started, according to the audit. 

For example, two subcontractors hired for administrative services — URS and Solix — received $3.3 million despite submitting incomplete applications for more than 4,400 homes, the audit said.

The city's Office of Housing and Recovery also paid $245,000 to contractors for items that had already been paid for due to the lack of an oversight to prevent double billing, according to the audit.

More than $719,000 was paid to contractors that didn't have required weekly reports, and $74,200 was paid for travel expenses that didn't have any supporting documentation, the audit found. 

The mayor's office, though, said they made major improvements to the program after their own internal audit revealed many of the same problems.

"This audit simply reiterates what the administration already outlined in its Build it Back report nearly one year ago — and every recommendation is already implemented or being implemented as part of the Mayor’s overhaul," said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office. 

The city also denied that vendors and consultants received excessive payment, and plan to review funds distributed in 2013 — before Mayor Bill de Blasio took office — to make sure people aren't paid twice, a city official said.