New York City paid almost $17 million to contractors hired to help Superstorm Sandy survivors for poor or unfinished work, an audit found Tuesday.
"Those payments were made upfront, so there was no motivation for either company to ensure prompt follow-up," Comptroller Scott Stringer said from the Rockaways in Queens Tuesday.
The audit looked at assistance to single-family homeowners who applied to the Build it Back program between June 2013 through August 2014, as it transitioned between the de Blasio and Bloomberg administrations.
"New York City’s response to Sandy was a case study in dysfunction," Stringer said.
The comptroller praised Mayor Bill de Blasio's commitment to improving Build it Back, but the mayor's office said changes have been underway since 2014.
"This audit simply reiterates what the administration already outlined in its Build it Back report nearly one year ago – and every recommendation is already implemented or being implemented as part of the mayor’s overhaul," said de Blasio spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick.
At an unrelated press event — where de Blasio and Sen. Chuck Schumer announced $3 billion in federal money towards public housing resiliency — the mayor
"We're on the same page about the things that were right to do," de Blasio said. "In this instance, we've already been doing them."
The audit claimed contractors were paid for processing incomplete applications for help from New Yorkers, sometimes ahead of the work being done.
It also reported workers hired to help applicants through the process were also unprepared, providing Sandy survivors with flawed or incomplete information, inadvertently delaying aid.