Yesterday, the U.S. Attorney's office arrested four CityTime "consultants" and two additional associates for stealing $80 million from the city.
Today Gonzalez asks, "Why hasn't anybody in the Bloomberg administration been held accountable for this mess?"
Here is his column, in full:
Federal prosecutors have finally begun to unravel one of the biggest scandals of the Bloomberg era.
But one major question remains: Where were city officials all those years that computer consultant Mark Mazer and his cronies allegedly stole more than $80 million in taxpayer money from the CityTime project?
How did a cutting-edge payroll system meant to eliminate fraud and waste by public employees become what prosecutors say is a nest of even bigger fraud, waste and money laundering by private contractors?
The first person who should answer that is Joel Bondy.
As executive director of the Office of Payroll Administration for the past six years, Bondy was the man in charge of CityTime.
He was the guy who kept defending the project at City Council hearings even as it fell years behind schedule and its cost spiraled from $63 million to more than $700 million.
Why has Bondy not been fired?
After all, he made Mark Mazer and Scott Berger, whom prosecutors called the masterminds of the criminal conspiracy, his top supervisors on the project.
He even lauded them at a December 2009 Council committee hearing when Councilwoman Letitia James (WFP-Brooklyn) demanded answers about their high fees.
"These people have proven themselves in the past and currently to be highly capable and competent at their jobs," Bondy said.
Late last year, half a dozen former CityTime workers gave me hair-raising accounts of a web of corruption and fraudulent time sheets on the project, of shell companies that were raking in huge sums of money for little work.
Mazer and Berger, those sources said, were close to Bondy. Mazer even worked with Bondy at the Administration for Children's Services years ago.
That's when I started to investigate CityTime. In January, I asked Bondy's spokeswoman about DA Solutions, one of the project's subcontractors, and asked if Bondy was familiar with the firm.
"Mr. Bondy has heard of the firm's name in connection with providing staff to the CityTime project," she told me in an email.
"The city pays SAIC [Science Applications International Corp., the project's main contractor] for the consultants provided by DA Solutions. Over the course of the project, DA Solutions has provided 45-50 consultants."
Turns out Bondy hadn't merely "heard" about DA Solutions, a criminal complaint unveiled Wednesday shows.
In 2005, Bondy told his human resources manager that Mazer "would be bringing some consultants ... that would be doing work on the CityTime project."
Mazer then walked in with Dimitry Aronshtein, the head of DA Solutions, and Victor Natanzon, chief of a firm called PrimeView, the complaint says.
Over the next few years, those two firms received an astonishing $76 million in CityTime payments.
Aronshtein and Natanzon were charged Wednesday as co-conspirators.
Aronshtein is believed to be Mazer's uncle. Prosecutors say Aronshtein and Natanzon kicked back more than $25 million of the money they received to Berger, Mazer, Mazer's wife and Mazer's mother through a series of shell companies.
Those payments were on top of more than $5 million Berger and Mazer received directly from the city as project managers.
In July 2008, Bondy's internal audit of CityTime revealed Mazer and Berger had approved consultant payments for work that had not been done, the complaint notes.
Reading the complaint, you get the clear impression that while Bondy's handpicked supervisors on CityTime were supposedly stealing millions, the man in charge saw nothing.
So when will Bloomberg, who made his billions through computers, hold Bondy to account for this computer disaster?
And who else in his administration failed to mind the store?
Bloomberg has a lot of questions to answer over this scandal.
Most specifically, why did he insist that the company receive an extension to its contract this September when City Controller, Leticia James and others were pointing out the problems with the project?
And where was his oversight of Joel Bondy, executive officer of the Payroll Administration?
The NY Times reports that Bloomberg refuses to answer any "until the investigation is complete."
Bloomberg knows he dropped the ball on this mess, he is even on record calling the CityTime project a "disaster," yet he insisted the city keep throwing money at it - money the CityTime consultants were stealing.
An investigation of both the city's Payroll Administration and City Hall is now in order - who knew what when about the fraud, kickbacks and bribery.
And the investigation needs to go right up to Mr. Accountability himself - Mayor Bloomberg.
It's time for the Accountability mayor to himself be held accountable.