Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bloomberg and His Consultants

Juan Gonzales continues to do his Pulitzer Prize winning reporting on the out to lunch out sourcing of the Bloomberg administration. In his latest installment he focuses on the DOE, the mayor's signature agency of managerial achievement:

"A top Department of Education official who supervised a major computer contractor is under investigation for "potential corruption and conflict of interest" with an owner of the firm.

In an April 14 interview under oath with probers for Special Commissioner on Investigation Richard Condon, the school official "denied having a personal relationship" with one of the two principal officers of Future Technology Associates (FTA), a Florida-based consulting firm with a $43 million contract to service the schools' computer system."

Yet another consultant running amok unsupervised. Gonzales should now set his sights on Willets Point and the fraudulent actions of EDC's traffic consultants-something we have tirelessly been pointing out. There is simply no way that the engineering firm AKRF should be allowed to get away with submitting two separate and contradictory traffic reports-one to the City Council for the FGEIS, and the other to SDOT for the Van Wyck ramps.

As WPU's own consultant Brian Ketcham has pointed out: "The fact that AKRF was in charge of both the WP FGEIS and the Van Wyck ramps EA/AMR and approved reports on the same project that provided diametrically opposite results raises the question whether or not an engineering firm (not so independent) that also works on projects within New York State can be relied upon to produce honest results. In my opinion NYSDOT should fire AKRF and find an engineering firm that can provide the required review functions but that has no conflicts of interest—that is an engineering firm that does no work within 500 miles of New York State and that is unlikely to be influenced by either private sector or public sector clients."

Here is a treasure trove for the intrepid Gonzales, who should pursue the following questions:

(1)How could AKRF submit the two contradictory reports and was it simply negligent or acting in a fraudulent manner on behalf of its client EDC;

(2)What did EDC know, and when did it know it? Was the agency aware of the potential fraud and simply ignored it, or did it just fail to exercise oversight;

(3)Why did EDC, once it had been nade aware of the discrepant reports continue to employ the consultants that had done the work?

(4)Why has NYSDOT apparently shifted gears and now appears poised to approve the EDC ramp application? Is the sea change a result of a new commissioner-Joan McDonald-who used to be an EDC executive?

(5)Why hasn't this entire ramp project been put out to bid for an independent contractor, as NRDC has requested?

These are just a few of the outstanding questions that Gonzales should pursue-and we haven't even touched on the Claire Shulman scam that he knows a great deal about. We feel strongly that if JG digs deep enough here there is another Pulitzer waiting. Willets Point is major sandal build on a foundation of scheming dishonesty.

It's time to clean the muck out of the stables!