Nearly all of the $600 million that New York City has paid to the main contractor for its troubled automated payroll project has been tainted by fraud, prosecutors said Monday in announcing a new indictment that charged two technology executives and their company in what a United States attorney called a “massive and elaborate scheme.”
“Today we allege what many have long feared: The CityTime project was corrupted to its core by one of the largest and most brazen frauds ever committed against the City of New York,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for Manhattan, said at a news conference.
It was the first time that Mr. Bharara, who was joined by Rose Gill Hearn, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Investigation, had held a news conference about CityTime since the scandal broke in December. The new indictment also adds accusations against six other people who had been previously charged in the case.
In addition to announcing the new indictment, prosecutors said the chief systems engineer in the New York office of the contractor, Science Applications International Corporation, had pleaded guilty to charges and was the second central figure to cooperate with the authorities. Prosecutors also said the fraud was much more systemic than they had first realized, and stretched back to 2003, two years earlier than they had said previously.
While no city official has been implicated, investigators suggested that the Bloomberg administration, which was deeply invested in the project and anxious for the technology to work, had failed to recognize what Mr. Bharara said was a scheme that “appears to have metastasized over time.”
Ms. Gill Hearn said, “The individuals charged today understood, exploited and preyed upon the city’s desire to modernize its timekeeping and payroll operations for more than 160,000 employees.”
Bloomberg was so eager to get a payroll system into place that would keep city employees from stealing away ten minutes early from work that he allowed the CityTime crooks to steal $600 million dollars.
And of course there is no mea culpa from the mayor here.
As NYC Parents Blog points out, Bloomberg thinks he did a great job on this project.
Uh, huh - that's what he said.
$600 million stolen, no oversight by the city on this, at least one city official (former Office of Payroll Administration Director Joel Bondy) implicated in the scandal, many more tarred with failing to see it happening over SEVEN FREAKING YEARS and the U.S. attorney called this scandal one of the worst frauds ever committed against New York City.
That doesn't seem like a great job to me.
And yet, Bloomberg will do his best to make like this never happened, he will continue to talk about how important it is to hold "bad teachers" accountable and how teachers need to be fired and the city cannot afford them anymore blah blah blah while $600 million has disappeared from the city coffers without anybody in the Bloomberg administration (other than perhaps Joel Bondy and his deputy, who seemed to be in on the fraud) noticing.
Will he continue to be Teflon with these scandals?
Will this stuff still not stick to him?
Will people continue to think he's a great fiscal manager even as it is becoming obvious from the CityTime scandal and the DOE scandals that the outside consultants this guy has hired have stolen what may amount to a billion dollars when everything is said and done?
I read somewhere that political observers don't think these outside consultant scandals rise to the level of the Koch scandals of the 80's.
Now that the U.S. attorney has called this one of the worst frauds ever committed against the city of New York, I wonder if they're still going to say the same thing?
Same goes for his media buddies who carry water for him at the Post and the Journal and the Times (I'm leaving the News out of this because Juan Gonzalez at the DN really helped spur this investigation along with his reporting)?
Does Bloomberg get a pass on this?