New York Fires Consultant Who Found Waste, Potential Fraud In Hurricane Relief Funds

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An independent consultant who examined New York’s spending for Superstorm Sandy found what he believes are questionable transactions and practices, including poor oversight of the use of state credit cards, orders for a fleet of SUVs and the purchase of iPads that did not seem necessary for recovery efforts.

The consultant, who was expelled by the state after issuing a series of recommendations to improve procurement practices, said it appeared from his examination that government officials bought and rented equipment that should have been stockpiled or lined up months or years earlier, and sought to acquire assets that didn’t seem necessary for the immediate tasks at hand.

“They’re trying to get stuff that would be cool to have, but we don’t really need it for this incident — but maybe we can get the feds to pay for it,” said Thomas Sadowski, the consultant.

He said many pieces of equipment were nearly impossible to track once put into the field, including millions of dollars in light towers, pumps, generators and provisions. As a result, the state was unsure what it owned, leased or lost during the immediate response to the late October hurricane, Sadowski said.

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