New York City Mayor Eric Adams is facing a new scandal as allegations of “extensive” failures in reporting migrant spending have surfaced. NYC Comptroller Brad Lander has taken the step of revoking the emergency powers granted to Adams, which allowed him to engage in taxpayer-funded contracts for migrant services without prior approval.
Initially authorized in November 2022 to address the migrant crisis, these emergency powers enabled Adams to make deals without seeking the comptroller’s preapproval. However, Lander’s office recently announced the removal of these emergency powers, now requiring the mayor to seek approval before allocating tax dollars for migrant-related expenses.
“Given the rapid expansion of the City’s efforts to shelter arriving asylum seekers, our Office is revising its prior approval,” the letter stated.
“The comptroller’s office citywide prior approval is hereby revoked,” the letter continued.
From May onwards, around $500 million in taxpayer funds has been allocated for diverse migrant services, covering housing, food, and laundry, as per city contract records examined by the Post.
The New York City Comptroller’s office reported that emergency contracts totaling $1.7 billion were spent from January 2022 to September 2023 to address the migrant crisis. During a review of a $432 million emergency contract, concerns were raised about the company’s lack of experience in delivering shelter and support services, prompting the comptroller to reject the contract due to various issues.
“The review found significant delays in agencies submitting required outlines and contracts,” the comptroller’s office stated.
“In FY23, agencies filed emergency contracts on average 144 days (nearly five months) after the start of the contract term even though the City’s procurement rules require that agencies submit contracts to the Comptroller within thirty days.
“The Comptroller’s review also found that agencies likely failed to report the vast majority of subcontractors on these contracts, as required by procurement rules.”
A spokesperson stated:
“Our review found extensive failures to report subcontractors despite problems that surfaced with many of them and 80 percent have no performance reviews at all.”
“In response, we concluded that the most prudent course for the city’s fiscal health and integrity would be to require City Hall to seek prior approval before using emergency procurement on a case-by-case basis, as required by the City Charter, rather than blanket approval to use whenever they want,” Chik added.
Lander stated that agencies “should not defer reporting deadlines and must adhere to guidance around transparency, accountability, and greater cost efficiency when stewarding city dollars.”
“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,” Lander explained.
An insider at City Hall informed the Post that they anticipate the withdrawal of emergency powers will impede the prompt delivery of essential migrant services.
“Do you want it to take longer to get food to people?” the source told the outlet.
“I know everyone isn’t a fan of what we are doing, but if the alternative is to sit and wait in bureaucracy, then whatever.”