Aguila, the company running the mega-shelter at 316 and 330 West 95th Street is getting extra-special scrutiny for the second time in three years, as Comptroller John Liu ordered a new audit of the company today.
The audit bodes well for opponents of the shelter: Liu has to sign off on the $47 million contract that the city is attempting to give Aguila to run the shelter for five more years. If he thinks the operator is sketchy, it could presumably put the contract in jeopardy. (if you missed it, read all about the controversy on the shelter here.)
Here’s Liu’s statement:
“The City has a poor history of minding the cash register when it comes to Aguila’s unsubstantiated bills,” Comptroller Liu said. “In a Nov. 2011 audit, we called on DHS to recoup more than $1 million from Aguila and examine another $9 million in bills to see whether taxpayers were entitled to claw back even more. Since then, DHS and Aguila have made some assurances that the problems are fixed. We’ll believe it when we see it. On Friday, we launched another audit into DHS’ billing and payments to Aguila.”
We will have more information about the shelter shortly, and will post the full contract. Opponents tell us they are planning to ratchet up political pressure on Monday, as the comptroller could make a decision on the contract as early as next week. We haven’t heard back from Borough President Scott Stringer’s office on whether he has contacted Liu to protest the shelter, as he had pledged to do on Wednesday night.
To read the November 2011 audit of Aguila, click here (pdf).
This is a step in the right direction but probably just for show because of community outrage. We need keep fighting, this battle is not over, and they will be hoping that we just go away and lose momentum, then the contract will be signed quietly and it will be too late for us to do anything about it. Keep calling Gale Brewer, Scott Stringer and Linda Rosenthal! Call Comptroller John Liu! It is in HIS hands.
Shocking! Who could have guessed?
Luma has it right! Keep after the elected officials. We are dying on W25th with the shelter here. Don’t let it happen in our home neighborhood.
A Brooklyn community is fighting an Aguila shelter right now as well. They have gone so far as to take legal action of some sort. This community should do the same. Let’s see, legal action in Carroll Gardens (word is judge offered time for discovery as there are inconsistencies in Aguila/City records, big surprise), horrible reputation of Aguila-run shelters around the City, and now this new audit. I wonder, do you think there is something wrong with these operators. Sketchy. Dirty. Corrupt. Cronyism. I hope they finally get outed for what they are and they are stopped from destroying neighborhoods and the lives of those stuck in their atrocious properties.
Postmodernist pussywhippers protest post-apocalyptic policies of pushbutton politicos promoting progressivism.
Has Aguila paid back the overbilling? Has the investigation in to the additional $9 million in expenses been completed? Worth noting: the proposed contract does NOT adopt recommendations from the Nov 2011 audit that clear performance standards and penalties for noncompliance be included in the contract. Not a good sign.
I live directly across the street & see all that’s going on there including all the “security”people who come over to my side to smoke or go down the stret…so much I don’t know how they can do their job(also all sorts of horsing around between male/female guards at night.
Several days ago, I sent a protest message to each of the email addresses listed on this “Community Action Center” page and suggest that others do the same.
$3,300 for a small unit with no kitchen / bath is a waste of tax-payer money and leaves the residents with no way to cook their own meals.
We need to hold the comptroller accountable for spending tax-payer money responsibly. And I think the message to convey to Liu – who is running for mayor – is that the eyes of the UWS are upon him.
There is no mention of resolution of the November 2011 audit of Aguila. I just wrote the following to the Comptroller’s office and am awaiting a reply.
H. Tina Kim
Deputy Comptroller for Audit
Please tell me what conclusions and actions resulted from your office’s last completed audit of charges paid to Aguila, Inc.
Comptroller Liu recently stated that, “In a Nov. 2011 audit, we called on DHS to recoup more than $1 million from Aguila and examine another $9 million in bills….”
Has there been follow-up to that directive? Have funds actually been recovered? I understand that another audit has been started, but I am asking about the bottom-line outcome of the one completed over a year ago.
The guy does his job and investigates. Yet no word of thanks. Yes, keep on him, but at least be grateful. Jeez.