Metropolis Comptroller Scott Stringer decried Mayor Invoice de Blasio’s spending of $6.9 billion price of fast-tracked metropolis contracts, whereas asserting Tuesday he’d taken the mayor to court docket to place a cease to the “unacceptable” observe enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The comptroller’s lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court docket, is geared toward bringing again procurement legal guidelines and rules that mandate comptroller oversight on Metropolis Corridor’s spending — rules which were suspended since March 2020.
“This mayor doesn’t have an incredible monitor document on transparency, [Freedom of Information Law], and good authorities, and I’ll be damned if we’re going to stroll out on December 31 with $7 billion actually unaccounted for,” Stringer stated at a press convention in Decrease Manhattan.
“We are able to’t let this man’s hubris outlast the pandemic, and even his mayoralty,” stated Stringer, who in June obtained simply 5 % of first-choice votes in his failed bid to succeed de Blasio.
On March 16, 2020 — simply earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic reached its peak in New York Metropolis — de Blasio signed an govt order that put a pause on common procurement guidelines, with the intention of expediting the method with which the town buys items and companies throughout the emergency.
However because the Massive Apple bounces again from the pandemic’s throes, Stringer needs to deliver again regular checks and balances on metropolis spending.
“The mayor has prolonged the procurement emergency powers greater than 100 instances, together with as just lately as final week, permitting the town to proceed to spend with out the oversight that my workplace is constitution mandated to offer,” stated Stringer on Tuesday. “Folks, that is unacceptable.”
“We’re gonna resolve this,” the town’s prime bean counter vowed.
A rep for the mayor stated the emergency procurements “saved lives,” and accused Stringer of submitting the lawsuit simply to remain related.
“Through the best problem our metropolis has ever confronted, emergency procurements have saved lives, interval,” stated spokesman Invoice Neidhardt. “The comptroller is clearly making an attempt to make use of this lawsuit to maintain himself within the headlines after his failed mayoral bid.”
In response, a Stringer spokeswoman accused de Blasio’s crew of personally slighting the Democratic cash supervisor reasonably than responding to the substance of Stringer’s beef.
“As soon as once more, Metropolis Corridor resorts to nonsensical low cost photographs to distract from the mayor’s failed mayoralty and keep away from accountability and transparency,” stated the comptroller’s press secretary, Hazel Crampton-Hays.
“Placing the mayor’s ego apart, elected officers have a accountability to guard taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse now and sooner or later,” she added. “We’ll see the Mayor in court docket.”
The swimsuit comes after Stringer stated in August he needed to regain oversight of metropolis contracts after a de Blasio political contributor obtained $120 million in no-bid coronavirus-related contracts in 2020.
“[I]t is crucial that my workplace resume its [City] Constitution-mandated position of safeguarding taxpayer funds,” he wrote on August 25.
The mayor responded on the time that he nonetheless thought he wanted to extra swiftly spend metropolis funds with out comptroller contract oversight.
“We’re removed from out of this disaster,” de Blasio stated throughout a distant Metropolis Corridor press briefing final yr.
“I believe we’d like all of the instruments and all the flexibleness we are able to to verify we now have what we’d like after we want it.”
That is the second time Stringer has introduced the mayor to court docket throughout the pandemic.
In November, the comptroller accused de Blasio’s administration of failing at hand over data of metropolis spending because it responded to the well being disaster. A decide dominated that the town ought to flip over the data to the comptroller’s workplace by July 15 on a rolling month-to-month foundation.
Extra reporting by Kevin Sheehan, Priscilla DeGregory, Abby Weiss and Len La Rocca