NY Budget Spends $820M on Medicaid for Illegal Immigrants, NFL Stadium
May 16, 2022
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed into law a $220 billion budget riddled with wasteful spending, including $220 million for free Medicaid for illegal immigrants and a $600 million subsidy for a new Buffalo Bills stadium, according to the New York Post.
Federal law prohibits federal tax dollars from going toward Medicaid for illegal immigrants, so New York taxpayers will pick up the tab for free healthcare for up to 20,000 illegal immigrants living in the Empire State.
Those making less than $18,754 would qualify for the program, though many other details regarding eligibility have yet to be announced.
Hochul, a Buffalo resident, pushed for her pet project of giving $600 million to gift the NFL a new stadium, and is part of why the budget was delayed for days.
In addition to state funding, Eerie County will contribute $250 million to the project, making it the largest public subsidy for a stadium in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. The NFL and the Bills will only pay $550 million toward the new stadium.
The New York State budget also gave $350 million in capital funding to the New York City Housing Authority, which is struggling financially, as thousands of residents are behind on rent payments.
New York state already has some of the highest debt. The last thing New York needs is more wasteful spending that continues to burden future generations.
ICE Wasted $17M on Empty Hotel Rooms
May 17, 2022
Immigration and Customs Enforcement wasted $17 million on 1,200 largely-unused hotel rooms to house migrant families, and hired a contractor that did not follow Covid-19 testing protocols, according to a new report from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.
The report found that “ICE did not adequately justify the need for the sole source contract to house migrant families” which resulted in “approximately $17 million for hotel spaces and services at six hotels that went largely unused” between April and June of 2021.
Additionally, instead of soliciting bids to drive the price down, they simply signed an $87 million “sole source contract” with the contractor.
The report also found that the contractor, Endeavors, didn’t follow the department’s Covid-19 testing protocols.
For example, the report found that migrants were not tested before being sent to or from hotels, in violation of department procedures. Endeavor also did not “follow required ICE standards to ensure proper care for housing migrant families,” such as providing snacks and storage areas to migrants.
ICE agreed with the Inspector General that it should do a better job assessing how many beds and rooms are needed before entering into a contract, but disputed the claim that proper contracting procedures weren’t followed.
The New York Post reports that at around the time Endeavor received the DHS contract, the company entered into an even bigger contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. Both contracts came after Endeavor hired Biden transition team member Andrew Lorenzen-Strait as a senior director for migrant services and federal affairs.
Whether this was a result of nepotism or not, all federal agencies should use competitive bidding to be efficient, and not waste millions on exclusive contracts with unvetted contractors.
CT Port Authority Wrongly Began $220M Wind Turbine Project
May 18, 2022
In February 2020, the Connecticut Port Authority, along with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, announced a partnership with electric services company Eversource and Denmark-based partner, Ørsted North America to begin work on a new $220 million wind turbine project in New London, Conn.
The wind turbines would support an offshore wind-to-energy project ultimately capable of generating 4,000 megawatt hours of electricity, the CT Mirror reported.
Half a million dollars later, it’s doubtful the CPA even had the authority to begin the project.
According to the CT Mirror, a host of procedural regulations were ignored to fast track the unauthorized project.
The public-private partnership needed state approval for the $220 million project but Connecticut Port Authority never even asked for it, the CT Mirror reported.
When projects like this receive permission from the state legislature, public hearings must be held by the state’s budget writing committees. That also didn’t happen for this project.
“There is no record that the [Connecticut Port Authority] had the statutory authority to execute a public-private partnership after January 1, 2020,” the CT Mirror reported.
But they went through with the project, even paying consultants Seabury Capital Group, with ties to a former member of the Port Authority Board, $523,000 as a “success fee.”
The fee sounds similar to banned finder’s fees. Then-State Treasurer Paul Silvester went to prison in the late 1990s after collecting such fees.
Government agencies have a fiduciary responsibility to their citizens to follow the laws and spend their money wisely and carefully.
Throwback Thursday: In 1987, $88,000 Spent on Defective Navy ‘Bloodmobile’
May 19, 2022
The U.S. Navy spent more than $88,000 in 1987 — $222,714 in 2022 dollars — on a “bloodmobile” that was a “bloody mess for the Navy and for the taxpayers,” Democratic Sen. William Proxmire said in giving the military branch a Golden Fleece award.
The vehicle was “so poorly designed and so badly built that the vehicle can’t be operated safely, has numerous defects and has been gathering dust in a Bethesda Naval Hospital for the last three years,” Proxmire said in 1987.
The dangerous vehicle’s brakes didn’t work properly, with the front wheels leaving the ground “like a bucking horse” when applying the brakes, the senator said.
And the vehicle wasn’t built with space for two important laboratory-style blood separation units. “That’s like building a house without a doorway,” Proxime said.
The Navy put some of the blame on the Defense Department’s contracting procures in Indianapolis for the 23 deficiencies that were found in the vehicle’s first inspection in 1983.
The weight was dangerously and improperly distributed, fans and mufflers were missing, water leaked from the windows and doors, brake lines were poorly routed, the rear tires were overloaded, there was faulty wiring, among many other issues, Proxmire’s report found.
“This thing would probably lead to more bloodshed than blood collection,” the senator said.
NSA Wasted $3.6M on Unused Parking Garage
May 20, 2022
The National Security Agency wasted $3.6 million on a parking garage in Washington that was built and then demolished before anyone could use it, according to a 2021 Inspector General report.
The report claims that employees at the NSA voiced concerns over a parking shortage for decades, yet the administration consistently failed to make improving employee parking a priority. This lack of prioritization led to years of shoddy, mismanaged projects that failed to make any meaningful improvements. One of their most spectacular failures was a garage.
The project was a “foundationless, single-story, steel, and precast concrete parking structure that installs over existing asphalt surface parking lot, adding 87 new spaces,” the report said. “The system is demountable and may be used in a permanent or semi-permanent manner.”
In 2014, NSA administrators decided to build the structure “quickly and at a low cost,” the report found, as it was a Commercial-Off-the-Shelf product. The agency believed that the structure would provide between 150-250 additional parking spaces within the N8/N9 lots of NSA-W campus and would help to alleviate parking congestion.
However, when the work was complete, it only added 87 parking spaces. Additionally, the NSA estimated cost of $25,000 per space came out to about $34,000 per space.
After construction, three design and engineering firm determined the new structure to be unsafe and the structure was demolished for $500,000 in 2019 without ever being used.
The Inspector General found that after five years, the project ultimately wasted $3.6 million for an overbudget structure that was never used.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.