Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is calling on the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to suspend contracts with companies facing corruption charges. The US attorney is pressing bribery charges against one such company, Greater American Construction, after a top executive allegedly bribed HPD officials to secure contracts. The company currently holds contracts for four HPD projects. In a letter sent today to Commissioner Wambua, de Blasio urged the agency to screen all future bidders for active corruption investigations and prior bribery convictions, as well as to suspend the contracts of any company currently under investigation, pending its outcome.
“We cannot throw good taxpayer money after bad. We need to take commonsense precautions any time there is a chance a company bribed its way to City business,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Full text of the letter below:
Mathew M. Wambua
Department of Housing Preservation and Development
City of New York
100 Gold Street
New York, NY 10038
Dear Commissioner Wambua:
I am writing regarding recent reports that a contracting company, Great American Construction, was actively bidding for contracts from your agency – despite the fact that William Clarke, a senior executive in the company, was indicted last June on charges of bribery for arranging for $50,000 in residential renovation costs for the home of a former HPD assistant commissioner, according to the United States Justice Department.
While the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development has not financed any new projects for Great American Construction since the indictment, there are still several ongoing construction projects contracted to Great American Construction. Given the nature of the indictment brought by the US Attorney’s office against Mr. Clarke and the high-ranking HPD officials also named in the US Attorney’s complaint against Great American Construction, I urge you to suspend these contracts while the allegations against Mr. Clarke are under investigation.
As a matter of policy moving forward, I believe it would also be prudent for HPD to review all current contracts and suspend any others given to companies or individuals who are under investigation for similar corruption and bribery charges. Additionally, I recommend that while future contracts are out for bid, HPD ascertain that all bidders are not presently under investigation for corruption or bribery, and have not ever been found guilty of those offenses.
As the largest municipal developer of affordable housing in the entire United States, it is crucial that HPD maintain the integrity of the contracting and bidding process. Taking the actions recommended in this letter will go a long way toward achieving that goal.
I thank you in advance for your prompt attention and response to this matter.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York