HUD loses Billions
NYCHA loses Millions
Tenants' just plain losers!
On Friday, after this basic story was written, proofed, formatted in a Desktop Publishing program for faxing the 500 copies, and a separate issue was published for the Website, I deleted it all. I realized that the new Washington Times' Insight magazine article might have repercussions that aren't immediately apparent. I thought of those people I know at NYCHA who will be hurt if renewed press attention forces an honest look into the way NYCHA handles money.
For there will be people who will be hurt, even if they have not directly participated in the fleecing of NYCHA's tenants. Some will be scrambling to make deals to avoid any possible prosecution, but most will just find that their "innocence" is not necessarily a get out of jail free card.
Then, over this weekend, I rethought that decision. The fact is, those folks, while not actually a part of the corrupt infrastructure of the Authority, have helped through their inaction to insure that innocents get hurt while the corrupt flourish. And that, I realized, placed them at an even lower level than those razing the NYCHA treasury to enhance their own lives. At least the corrupt scum are feeding their greed by approving unnecessary Change Orders, hiring superfluous consultants or allowing asbestos to remain on roofs in Developments in which people live and children play. They have sold their souls for money, something that lowlifes have done throughout history.
But the "innocents" that stood by, or complained weakly and ran as soon as a better position was offered, deserve whatever they get.
Corruption and cowardice exist well together.
When greed of the magnitude found at NYCHA is put under a microscope (or a Spotlight?), cowardice will be found to surround most of the lead characters. Assistants, Supervisors, underlings, secretaries and peers will be forced to admit that while they could surely see what was going on around them, their fear of retaliation from the power structure that is beholden to the crooks had caused them to retreat and pretend everything was going just fine.
Some people who strive to convey an aura of professionalism will be found to have been entirely derelict in their duties. While some of these people will not have been candidates for Beatification, there are among them people who wear their moral compass on their sleeves, and some others who (hypocritically) loudly and continually profess their own religiousness as quickly as they say hello. These also will be found to have assisted the crooks, hurt the honest folk and run into hiding when the calls for assistance were given.
They'll hope that we'll give them understanding, as they cry about how hard it would have been to go forward. How they had bills and/or a family to support. And, the one least likely to garner sympathy, how they closed their eyes in order to get a promotion to an area where they might be "able to help."
Well, they shouldn't look to this rag for sympathy! The sympathy window was covered over with concrete. If it were up to me, the cowards would get tougher sentences than the crooks.
It could also be a shame that some politicians/officials may well be hurt if other media start looking into this story. Moreover, some may be the very politicians/officials that are publicly champions for public housing. But, they've all had years of certified letters, faxes and email asking them to help stem the flood of taxpayer's funds leaking out of the public housing budgets. They were disinterested, incompetent or sharing in the corrupt profits. Now we may be getting nearer the time when they will be asked some embarrassing questions. Here is one reason:
The mysterious absence of any administrative records for 143 contracts worth over $50,000,000 has now been given some national attention. In the Washington Times magazine, Insight, both HUD and NYCHA had their . . . hmm . . . accounting procedures reamed by the reporter, Ms. Kelly O'Meara. (Click Here!)
While we here at Spotty had been harping on the absolute lack of accountability on the part of the then CAD Director, William (little Billy) Russo and Deputy Director/Field Operations Anthony (Kenny) LaBarca, it seems that HUD was playing its own game of monopoly with nobody in charge of the bank.
In HUD's case, however, there is a glaring and important difference. The HUD IG will actually criticize an inept and/or corrupt administration, when the facts leave nothing else to blame. The NYCHA IG will search for a way to assign blame to an employee below the title of Asst. Director. If the IG's Office can't find anyone at the lower levels who can be feasibly assigned the blame, then the investigation will be allowed to die a slow death, while DOI will answer all queries with: "We DO NOT comment, as that's part of an active investigation."
In Ms. O'Meara's HUD story, we learn that HUD DO NOT seem to be able to account for $59 Billion dollars. The best defense HUD has come up with has to do with computer system problems.
(Hmm? Odd that both HUD and NYCHA would be having computer problems that lead to, in NYCHA's case, the loss of all tracking info tied to over $50 Million, and led to, in HUD's case, the loss of all tracking info tied to over $50 Billion!)
I won't go into the HUD story here, as I couldn't do it justice. Ms. O'Meara, through her own sources and through her interview with Susan Gaffney, the HUD IG, has put together a chronicle of mis/mal/non-feasance that should have you questioning why nobody cares what happens to your tax dollars, as long as you keep sending them in every April.
The HUD portion of this story is a National disgrace. Nevertheless, we in New York nonfeasance be casting any stones, as we have our own missing funds. Unfortunately, NYCHA doesn't have someone with the courage and integrity of a Ms. Gaffney. We have DOI . . .
Let's remember, Billy Russo was at the top of the chain at CAD (Contract Administration Department ). As the name of the department makes clear, administering contracts is CAD's reason to exist. Years of payments on these missing contracts were processed through NYCHA's FMS system and tax money was converted into checks. However, were you to have been given total access to CAD's computer system, you would not find a single one of these contracts. They did NOT exist, as far as CAD's computers were concerned. CAD had no documentation of Inspection, Insurance Certification, Percentage of Completion on the contract, and/or any other documentation that covered these contracts. The contracts ONLY existed as checks cut by FMS. So, when payments were found for contracts not being monitored, someone should have been held responsible. (In fact, Inspectors have gotten in trouble for not having that information instantly available. Yet, CAD had none of this info on these contracts anywhere in its computer system.)
Of course, someone was held accountable.
The person who was punished in this case was the one who "Spotted" that $50,000,000 was spent on phantom contracts!
Only at NYCHA . . . only at NYCHA!
(Or, should it now read
"Only at NYCHA . . .AND Only at HUD!" )
There is a new site that's filled with articles about NYCHA and it's varied scandals. Spotty highly recommends it.
(Hell, we believe it should be used as part of the Orientation of New Employees!)
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