Comptroller revokes Adams’ no-bid contracts for migrant services



(The Center Square) — New York City’s comptroller is curbing Mayor Eric Adams’ authority to sign no-bid emergency contracts for migrant housing and services.

Brad Lander, the city’s chief financial officer, has notified city officials that his office is revoking Adam’s emergency powers to sign deals with private contractors providing housing, food, laundry and other services for asylum seekers without prior approval.

“Given the rapid expansion of the city’s efforts to shelter arriving asylum seekers, our office is revising its prior approval,” Lander’s office said in a letter to city officials.

Under the changes, the Adams administration will still be allowed to use emergency contracts, but will need to get preclearance from the comptroller’s office.

The move follows a report by Lander’s office revealing deficiencies in the Adams administration’s emergency contracting practices, which totaled $54 million as of the end of November. Lander’s report said a lack of transparency in the emergency contracting process increases the risk of overpayment and corruption.

“Agencies navigating emergency procurements should not defer reporting deadlines and must adhere to guidance around transparency, accountability, and greater cost efficiency when stewarding city dollars,” Lander said in a summary of the Thursday report. “Otherwise, unscrupulous vendors could take advantage of the situation, supplies could go to waste, and the public could lose its trust in government to act responsively and responsibly in times of crisis.”

Charles Lutvak, spokesman for Adams, criticized the move by Lander’s office to rollback the emergency powers. He called it “unfair to both new arrivals and longtime New Yorkers” saying it will “slow down every step in the process” of providing emergency housing and support.”

“We will continue to hold our contractors to the highest standards for providing care and services,” Lutvak said in a statement to media outlets.

City Council President Adrianne Adams is among those who have expressed support for doing away with the no-bid emergency contracts. She said Lander’s report “underscores the need for the city to reduce its overreliance on this type of procurement and turn toward more sustainable solutions to meet the holistic needs of our communities and those seeking asylum.”

“Transparency, oversight, and accountability are critical when the city is spending billions of public dollars through emergency contracting,” the Democrat said.

Lander’s office previously raised concerns about a $432 million no-bid contract with DocGo, a private medical services provider, to provide emergency housing and other services for migrants. An audit suggested the company is “ill prepared” to handle the volume of asylum-seekers requiring housing and other assistance.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation into allegations that DocGo has been deceiving and threatening migrants while failing to vet security officers properly.

New York City has had an influx of more than 120,000 asylum seekers over the past year and a historic surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The city is providing housing, food and other necessities for more than 60,000 migrants in more than 200 temporary “humanitarian” shelters.

The Adams administration estimates the city will need to spend $12 billion on migrants through 2025, which has prompted deep budget cuts to reductions in public safety and other municipal services.

Adams was expected to travel to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to reiterate his demands for more federal funding and resources to deal with the migrant crisis.

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