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EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA throws out $550G in new supplies | One Herald
Home / Top Story / EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA throws out $550G in new supplies

EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA throws out $550G in new supplies

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Wednesday, December 23, 2015, 4:00 AM

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiCorey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Workers sort through items that the NYCHA bought over the years but never used. Now many of them are being thrown out.

The city Housing Authority is doing some winter housecleaning — throwing out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of brand-new supplies, the Daily News has learned.

In the past few weeks, NYCHA workers have chucked out $ 550,000 in taxpayer-purchased appliance parts, plumbing fixtures, drapery rods and a host of other items destined for recycling centers or landfills.

This week, The News found a dumpster in the loading bay of a Long Island City, Queens, NYCHA warehouse filled to overflowing with unopened boxes of refrigerator parts.

EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA QUIETLY SOLD OFF SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR REPAIRS AND CLEANUP

A dumpster filled with discarded stove and refrigerator parts sits outside an NYCHA warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, on Monday.Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

A dumpster filled with discarded stove and refrigerator parts sits outside an NYCHA warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, on Monday.

Another dumpster was filled to the brim with thousands of brand-new, shiny, stainless steel oven parts. Sources said the dumpster was carted off to a recycling firm that paid about $ 50 for the entire bin. NYCHA, meanwhile, paid $ 350 to rent the bin, sources told The News.

Inside the Queens warehouse there were stacks of supplies with yellow tags marked “Garbage,” ready to be hauled off.

“I promise you, everything has been fully vetted,” said Josephine Russo, NYCHA interim vice president for inventory, who is overseeing the housecleaning operation.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiCorey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Josephine Russo, interim vice president for inventory at NYCHA, talks about the supplies that were dumped at a public housing warehouse in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

NYCHA officials said Tuesday $ 280,000 worth of materials has been recycled, while $ 270,000 more was simply tossed out.

NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly said that, so far, NYCHA has found $ 3 million in usable inventory, of which $ 1.3 million has been sent back to developments.

LANDLORDS, BROKERS HAVE BEEN GETTING AWAY WITH SHUTING OUT POOR TENANTS

A dumpster filled with discarded stove parts sits on the loading dock of an NYCHA warehouse at 23-02 49th Ave. in Long Island City, Queens on Monday. Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

A dumpster filled with discarded stove parts sits on the loading dock of an NYCHA warehouse at 23-02 49th Ave. in Long Island City, Queens on Monday.

Enlarge Individual stove parts are among the unused supplies that the NYCHA is now throwing away. Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

Individual stove parts are among the unused supplies that the NYCHA is now throwing away.

Enlarge

A dumpster (l.) filled with discarded stove parts sits outside an NYCHA warehouse in Long Island City, Queens on Monday. Individual stove (r.) parts are among the unused supplies that the NYCHA is throwing away.

“We continue to sort and separate salvageable items,” Kelly said. “As we continue to catalog and centralize these items, we will move to close our remaining six satellite sites to minimize the space and resources allocated to this process.”

Since May, the authority — working with a task force of experts set up by city Controller Scott Stringer — has sifted through thousands of items ordered over the years to see what’s still useful and what isn’t.

Unfortunately, thousands of items sat around so long or weren’t ordered thoughtfully in the first place that they’re now out of date or just plain useless.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiCorey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Toilet bowl tank covers were still in packages at the NYCHA warehouse.

“This was a problem that built up over many years,” said task force member Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

“There was not a consistent system for identifying where things were coming from and who was ordering what,” she said. “The controls were weak going back decades in some cases, and as a result, they were stuck with a huge inventory assessment challenge.”

In 2012, NYCHA realized it didn’t have a complete picture of its vast inventory of appliances, supplies, tools and parts sitting in 5,000 storerooms across the city.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiCorey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Items are sorted to be used or sent to recycling at an NYCHA warehouse in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

POLITICIANS SLAM NYCHA’S HEAT SHUT-OFF POLICY AS ‘CALLOUS COST-CUTTING’

The agency shipped everything to satellite warehouses to count it, and by March of this year found a huge $ 4 million disparity between what its records said it had and what was counted.

NYCHA discovered hundreds of boxes of unopened goods, including attache cases, office furniture and toner cartridges.

For a time early this year, it tried auctioning the goods off, but for only pennies on the dollar. After The News uncovered what was going on, the auctions stopped.

In May, Stringer’s auditors found NYCHA couldn’t account for hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods it had bought over the years.

Internal documents reviewed by The News show that by the time of Stringer’s audit, NYCHA had no explanation for a gap of more than $ 4.3 million between its general ledger and its actual inventory.

The agency is facing a $ 98 million budget shortfall.

Tags:
daily news exclusives ,
nycha ,
nyc budget ,
long island city
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