According to a recent investigation conducted by the city, workers from the Department of Correction in the city have been found to hide unused equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars inside an abandoned jail on Rikers Island. The workers went on to build a cozy lounge for themselves, complete with leather sofas, a big-screen TV, and even a mini-fridge. This discovery sheds light on the unethical practices that some workers engage in, and raises concerns about the misuse of public resources.
According to a report by the city Department of Investigation in December 2021, an anonymous tip was received in the previous autumn regarding the hoarding of various materials and equipment by the employees of the maintenance and repair division of the DOC. The James A. Thomas Center, a century-old prison that was condemned and closed in 2015, was the site of this stockpiling.
In October 2020, during a building inspection, investigators discovered a vast collection of well-maintained DOC equipment. The inventory included an impressive $100,000 worth of tools, $450,000 worth of air filters, 17 snow blowers, and $230,000 worth of lockers. Interestingly, the lockers were intended to be installed at DOC facilities to enhance the morale of its staff. This information was revealed in the report.
One month later, investigators were taken aback yet again when they discovered a cozy lounge that appeared to have been constructed by unknown employees. The lounge boasted a 70-inch television, a mini-fridge, two luxurious leather couches, and even a fully-functional bathroom. It was a delightful surprise indeed!
According to the Department of the Interior (DOI), the individual responsible for constructing the secretive hideaway utilized materials purchased by the Department of Conservation (DOC), including lumber, floor tiles, and plumbing and electrical equipment. In addition, the perpetrator managed to tap into the facility’s power and piping lines to facilitate the installation of a raised floor and air conditioning system, effectively creating their own personal playground within the space.
The issue lies in the fact that…
It was against the rules for anyone to be inside the building in the first place.
According to the findings of the Department of Investigation (DOI) probe, jail officials had shut down the Rikers Island facility a few years ago due to its old age and deteriorating condition. The Daily News was the first to report the discovery of a secret lounge and unused equipment stashes at the closed jail.
According to reports, the prison was found to have hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead contamination. This was made worse by the deteriorating condition of the ceilings, walls, and floors, which led to chipping lead paint, cracked walls, and sunken floors. These hazardous materials posed a potential threat to the health and safety of those residing in the prison.
According to a report from the Department of Investigation (DOI), which was obtained by The Post on Monday through a Freedom of Information Law request, the combination of various factors resulted in a number of hazards that should have made it clear that staff should not have been present in the building.
The reason for storing the equipment in the jail, particularly the brand-new ones that go back to 2017, remains unclear.
The correction department was harshly criticized by investigators for their unbelievable oversight.
According to the report, the Department of Investigation (DOI) unearthed numerous objects across various sections of the correctional facility that had a cumulative value worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to the report, the items that were stored after the jail’s closure were not properly taken care of and many of them were damaged due to exposure to moisture, heat, and vermin. Some of them were left for such a long time that they became obsolete.
According to the report, the end outcome was a significant amount of wastage. It highlighted a severe lack of oversight by institutions and a complete absence of protocols to track incoming and outgoing materials, equipment, and property.
The investigators probed the jail officials regarding their findings.
According to the report, there was at least one individual who was aware of the stored materials. The report did not disclose the identity of this person, but did note that they were a former DOC deputy commissioner.
The identity of the individual or group responsible for constructing or revamping the lounge remains a mystery.
According to a spokesperson from the DOC on Monday, the department has taken steps to address the issue by appointing new leadership for facilities management and restructuring the division to ensure that all equipment for facilities is accurately tracked and inventoried.
According to the DOI report, several policy changes were suggested to address the problems at hand. These changes included implementing new methods for equipment inventory, disposing of damaged items, and ensuring people are kept away from the deteriorating building.
According to the statement, implementing this measure would be instrumental in avoiding similar catastrophic events in the future.
According to the report, the Department of Corrections (DOC) failed to provide adequate supervision and had no established procedures to monitor the property and equipment stored on its premises. The investigation revealed significant shortcomings in the DOC’s oversight, which led to the mismanagement of its facilities.
“The unsuccessful attempts resulted in DOC assets being wasted and destroyed.”