Hewlett Packard Screwing NYC out of $163 million
Seems corporate greed by Hewlett Packard may be defrauding NYC out of about $163 million. From a recent email from NYC Comptroller John Liu:
To those who say there's no money: there's plenty due to the City. That is, of course, if you know where to look and have the will to go after it.
Last week, Comptroller Liu uncovered $345 million that should be recaptured from the City's generous Times Square giveaway. This week, it's $163 million that should be recouped from "CityTime II", another botched, runaway consultant contract already over-budget.
Doing business with the City of New York is a privilege, not a lifetime guarantee. Although City Hall can't turn back the clock and undo the gross mismanagement, it must pursue the rightful refunds for our taxpayers.
Looking behind the press release, from the Daily News article covering the Hewlett Packard fraud:
New York City Comptroller John Liu said the Comptroller’s office may reject future contracts with Hewlett-Packard (HP) if the company fails to reimburse taxpayers for the up to $163 million it owes the city for botching the upgrade of the 911 call center in Brooklyn...
HP consistently failed to meet contractual requirements, double-billed for some services, and hired subcontractors to perform much of the work and then marked up their bills by 54 percent – well beyond the 25 percent markup allowed, according to the Comptroller.
Sloppy or possibly fraudulent charges include low-level administrative assistants billed as higher paid program analysts; unauthorized overtime and impossible timesheets. For example, more than a thousand hours were entered onto timesheets as long as a month before the actual dates occurred. Two consultants submitted identical timesheets.
HP also charged the city $192 an hour for activities not billable under the contract: binding documents, opening the office door to visitors, posting a calendar in a conference room and cleaning a bathroom.
The audit found that HP’s work on the 911 call center was “so poorly monitored and rife with billing and other errors” that Liu referred the matter to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for further review.
$163 million...how many teachers, nurses, firefighters and cops could that give our city? Think about if that money was used to keep open one of these hospitals that keep getting closed, causing more overcrowding and cost overruns in neighboring hospitals, leading to MORE closings. Mayor Bloomberg has always claimed to be a businessman...but if a contractor defrauds a business, does that business let it happen and keep working with that contractor? Not in a well run company! This kind of fraud goes on all too often in NYC. Another example is the $345 million Liu references in the above email that is his estimate of what the city will lose because of a sweetheart deal given by the corrupt Empire State Development Corporation (same people who gave us all those non-existant jobs and affordable housing units at the Atlantic Yards project) to Marriot Hotels.
Of course this isn't the first time the Comptroller found suspicious activity surrounding the CityTime Project. Back in 2010, in one of the first ever audits of the project, he dug up shady letters dating back to 2002.
Here in NYC we close firehouses, fire teachers and close hospitals but let contractors and developers rake in our tax dollars no matter what. They can back out of promises (like the tons of affordable housing we were promised from Atlantic Yards that never materialized!). They can pull strings to get favors and get jobs. They can do whatever they want and they keep getting contracts. If that isn't mismanagement then I don't know what is. Maybe this is why I am favoring the two Comptroller candidates for mayor of NYC, Bill Thompson and John Liu. It is about time we have some fiscal responsibility in NYC and I am hoping someone with experience as Comptroller will be better at this than people like Quinn and de Blasio who are solidly in the pockets of developers and are solidly in on these kinds of backroom shady deals that suck millions of taxpayer dollars out of our city into the pockets of contractors and developers.