Taxpayer's ripped off!
Spotty recently received a fax from a NYCHA location that sort of sums up a lot of what's wrong at NYCHA. The fax began with these paragraphs:
"I've been reading the last two issues, and I believe I can contribute to exposing the corruption in General Services. My story is not just about waste and abuse of taxpayer money, but it's also about the General Services Department allowing a vendor to profit from the 9/11 tragedies.
It seems that while NYCHA employees were trying to cope with the tragedy, and were dealing with being moved and shuffled like so many chess pieces, Kenneth Martin, Fred Connors and William Boyd put on blind-folds and let their main telecommunications vendor run away with the store."
And, from the details provided, that source might be mastering understatement. You decide!
NYCHA has a contract with Shared Technology Fairchild (STF). STF is a telecommunications solutions vendor (phone services). NYCHA tasked STF with getting 250 Broadway, 90 5th Avenue and 350 Livingston Street ready for the influx of staff after 9/11 had taken 90 Church out of the NYCHA mix.
In a 90-day period, NYCHA paid STF approximately $450,000.00. Of course, when compared to the billions of dollars that NYCHA spends each year, $450,000.00 is a small amount. But you'll be surprised when you hear how that money was allocated.
Over $360K was for labor alone.
Almost $260K of that was just overtime.
Overtime pay that went to only 4 people.
That's right! Instead of using men in on straight time to get the sites up and running as quickly as possible, they allowed "Bill's Buddies" to profit while the NYCHA employees suffered in dismal conditions.
Add to that the insult that the vendor kept raising their labor rates to keep increasing their profits.
Here's what we were told:
The labor rate submitted by STF was
$89.00 per hour in September ($133.50 OT).
It went to $95.00 per hour in October ($142.50 OT).
It went to $101.00 per hour in November ($150.50 OT)
Remember this was pure profit. These are union jobs. Union contracts do not usually have rate increases every month. The union agreements are structured around annual or semi-annual raises in pay . . . not a monthly raise that would wreak havoc on a contract. So the workers surely didn't get the extra money billed by STF.
Now, if anyone but the NYCHA IG (Dept. of Investigation) were looking into this, they might want help in locating evidence of these charges.
Being that Spotty always wants to be helpful, here come's a clue.
Look at NYCHA Check invoices numbered:
You're going to find that the tab for labor alone at 90 5th Avenue was over $325,000.00 through August 31st, 2002.
All of this went on unchecked with the knowledge and consent of the General Services Department Management.
As a further shameful aside, it is common knowledge that NYCHA was one of the last City Agencies to get phone service restored.
Because William Boyd waited almost 2 weeks before putting in a formal written request to restore service.
Our sources (including some at Verizon) have told us that Mr. Boyd didn't even ask to have the main number (212) 306-3000 put back in service, although Verizon could have had the main number transferred and working at LIC within days. When others questioned him about the problem, Boyd stated "I'm not doing anything - Ken's in charge - that's his decision".
The main number was finally turned back on in December.
As if that weren't enough incompetence and wasting of the taxpayer's money, NYCHA was still being billed for someone to maintain the telephone system at 90 Church Street for $13,700.00 per month.
They were being billed
FOR AN EMPTY BUILDING!
Worse yet . . . our sources tell us that NYCHA is STILL being billed and the vendor is still getting paid!
The vendor also helped themselves to an additional $13,000.00 per month raise on the existing maintenance contract - again this couldn't occur without the nod of approval from William Boyd, Fred Connors, and Kenneth Martin.
This takes from the taxpayer a
whopping total of $870K per year.
Invoice #'s SHA211613ck and 211614ck are evidence of this pay raise.
Remember this is on top of their suddenly staggering annual overtime bill of almost $300K per year (and that does NOT include the amounts already mentioned above!). It seems that since 9/11, the only way work gets done in Telecommunications is on overtime!
But in case overtime rates aren't enough of a profit-making venture, they have found additional ways to be creative in playing with the taxpayer's checkbook.
Here's some items we paid our vendor to purchase:
- Electrical Tape (that you can get in any NYCHA storeroom) $ 2.68 per roll
- Tie Wraps - yes Tie Wraps! $28.30 per bag
- A carton of paper $53.20 per carton
Maybe Ken Martin and William Boyd
haven't been informed
but we do have a
Materials Management Department.
Again, this is NOT a joke! NYCHA check invoice #'s 224104 and 225087 will provide confirmation of these facts.
Is anyone in the General Services/Telecommunications Department actually checking bills?
Well, William Boyd has supposedly been checking them. We should hope so, as he's been signing off on those outrageous bills.
(We now hear that no one is really reviewing the bills anymore. NYCHA is currently more than 90 days past due in the amount of $500K .Now that Dorothy Hunter has resigned - we hear it's because she figured out she was only put in to be the scapegoat if something goes wrong - those bills are being tossed around like a live grenade. It seems the one who has the most problem with putting his signature on them is none other than William Boyd???)
Grand total for this single vendor (Shared Technology Fairchild ) for the 12 month period of September 2001 to August 2002- $2.8 million dollars.
According to our sources, way too much of it was paid because of waste, abuse and mismanagement.
While researching this story many sources came forward to tell tales of a time in the mid to late '90's when Ken Martin and Joe LaMarca would provide "Yankee tickets" to unsuspecting employees in the mail and copy center as "little gifts". These gifts, they were told, were given because they "were doing a good job." What they didn't find out until later is that Ken got these tickets as "little gifts" of appreciation from the then building property manager at 250 Broadway. Could this have been the property manager's way of saying thanks for Ken looking the other way when some of his invoices for services and contractors were a little on the "high" side. Ken Martin and his son certainly went to a lot of Yankee games in those days courtesy of this person.
We're also told that when Ken Martin was once asked about where he got 8 tickets to a Yankee game a clerk in the mail center overheard him reply
"Oh TG gave me his season tickets for this game, he couldn't go".
Eight season tickets - some friend!
(We have TG's full name, along with reams of other info, if there is ever a real investigation into NYCHA corruption.)
© 2002 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
Issue links are at page bottom
or click here for a Directory page with Issue overviews.
Click on the mailbox to send us your thoughts!
Or Message/Fax us with info at 718/745-0170