Brad Lander laughed at the cost of Eric Adams’ tent city

Comptroller Brad Lander couldn’t help but laugh as a video clip played on NY1 Monday night showing Mayor Eric Adams vowing not to hide the “cost” of the tent city he built for migrants before he abruptly scrapped the plan.

Lander’s reaction was allegedly prompted by Adams’ estimate of the cost at around $650,000 — despite a report from the city’s Independent Budget Office that estimated the tent city would cost $16 million to build and operate.

Lander called the tent city a “debacle” last week and his appearance on “Inside City Hall” came after Adams attacked him for demanding a detailed breakdown of spending.

“The Comptroller’s job is to hold City Hall accountable and to work together, and we try very hard to do both,” Lander said.

“Look, we want to know how much it cost to put up the tents, first on Orchard Beach — where people had said it would flood and they put it up and then took it down — then they put it up on Randall’s Island , when many people said it made more sense to rent hotels that could be used as long-term shelters.”

Zach Iscol, commissioner of emergency management, said the city spent a total of about $325,000 to build the facility on Randall’s Island and the same amount to build and then demobilize the earlier facility, which was never occupied.

Comptroller Brad Lander
Comptroller Brad Lander laughed as a video clip played showing Mayor Eric Adams vowing not to hide the “cost” of the tent city.
Spectrum News NY1
Eric Adams
Adams claims the cost is around $650,000.
Spectrum News NY1
Workers on Randall's Island
Lander is concerned about the prices for sequentially setting up and taking down the tents.
Matthew McDermott

City Hall has declined to disclose additional costs, but the IBO on Sunday estimated $16 million has been or will be spent on Randall’s Island tent city, a “navigation resource center” for migrants in Midtown Manhattan and translation services at homeless shelters.

On Tuesday, The Post saw workers dismantling Randall’s Island tents, with one saying the city had clearly spent “millions” of dollars on the ill-fated project.

“Gassing all those generators multiple times a day, septic guys hauling the garbage out three or four times a day — they’ll hit $10 million when they’re done, no problem!” said the worker.

The remaining migrants on Randall's Island "tent city"

The remaining migrants in the “tent city” of Randall’s Island come and go before their planned resettlement to hotel accommodations in Manhattan.

Senegalese migrants

As of Saturday, more than 24,600 migrants have arrived in the Big Apple and more than 17,900 have been housed in 58 shelters and four processing facilities.

Venezuelan migrants exit tent city accommodation on Randall's Island to board a city bus bound for Manhattan in search of city-provided services and clothing.

Venezuelan migrants leave Randall’s Island tent city.

The trailers brought to the site are already being taken away, “and I hear that the tents will be taken down tomorrow morning,” said the worker.

“I don’t know if everyone is unionized. I know we are,” he added.

On Monday, Adams blasted Lander for sending him a Friday letter about the cost of the tent cities, “and then he talks about it like he sent the letter a week ago and we didn’t give him the information.”

“Let’s work together, Brad. Listen, you sent a letter on Friday. Give us days to reply to your letter. We will not hide the cost of anything,” he said during an independent press briefing at City Hall.

Adams also defended his spending, saying the tent construction shows the city is prepared for crises.

tent city
According to a worker, trailers that have already been brought to the construction site are being removed.
Getty Images/Michael M Santiago

“I’m really baffled by those who don’t see the successful execution of a plan,” Adams said.

Additionally, the mayor said that neither President Biden nor Gov. Kathy Hochul offered to provide emergency aid to the city because “nobody wanted to talk about it” ahead of last week’s midterm elections.

“I was talking about funding in the middle of the campaign season, but it seemed like people were more focused on running from one place to the next,” he said.

As of Saturday, more than 24,600 migrants have arrived in the Big Apple and more than 17,900 have been housed in 58 temporary shelters and four processing facilities, including the tent city, according to City Hall.

Workers at Randall's Island Migrants
A report by the city’s independent budget bureau estimated the cost of building and operating the tent city at $16 million.
Matthew McDermott
Eric Adams
Adams lashed out at Lander for demanding a detailed breakdown of the tent city’s expenses.
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/S

On Randall’s Island, several migrants Tuesday said they were desperate to be moved to the Watson Hotel in midtown Manhattan, where the city has opened a replacement facility.

“I really like going there because it is very cold here. My hands are the coldest! I wear three layers of clothes to bed and I still shake at night,” said Abraham Moises, 20, of Venezuela.

Julio Caesar, 33, from Ecuador, also complained about the conditions.

“It’s cold here and there are no women. Everyone is bad, but worse together!” he said.

The Post also saw a group of migrants board an MTA bus and head to the Watson Hotel, where they disembarked and were escorted to the lobby by two members of the National Guard in military uniforms.

The bus then returned to Randall’s Island and picked up another group of migrants.

Additional reporting by Desheania Andrews Brad Lander laughed at the cost of Eric Adams’ tent city


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