New York City’s comptroller threatened Monday to strip Mayor Eric Adams of emergency powers to sign contracts for migrant shelters and said troubled developer DocGo needed closer scrutiny.
Comptroller Brad Lander said his staff would conduct a “real-time” review of bills related to DocGo’s criticized $432 million no-bid deal with the city to resettle asylum seekers outside the Big Apple — as he warned he might revoke Adams’ emergency rule. Treaty powers overall.
The moves come just days after the company’s recent controversy led to the sudden departure of its top executive.
“New Yorkers deserve real-time monitoring and accountability to understand how this price was reached, to ensure that this company has the experience to provide the contracted services, and to verify the integrity and responsibility of this provider,” said Landers in a statement.
“There are simply too many unanswered questions and concerns about DocGo. “Are we getting what we pay for?” he said.
The increased scrutiny of the city’s contract with DocGo comes just days after the publicly traded company’s CEO resigned amid revelations that he had allegedly lied about his college degrees.
The company has already come into conflict with the state over complaints about misleading and mistreatment of migrants. The reports prompted Gov. Kathy Hochul to order an investigation into her services.
The review found that DocGo subcontracted some of its services to another company that used unlicensed security guards in urban migrant shelters.
The state attorney general’s office is also investigating DocGo.
Lander said DocGo landed on his office’s radar after he made an “unusual” request for a $4 million advance in June.
He said such requests had been approved by his office only twice before: once for down payment on a humanitarian aid site and then to fund renovations to synagogues and churches to house migrants.
“It seemed strange to us that a publicly traded company had cited its financial stability as a reason to simultaneously receive a rare upfront payment,” Lander said, adding that the request was rejected.
After reports surfaced raising concerns about DocGo’s services, Lander rejected the company’s contract with the city, which would have suspended payments to the company.
But the comptroller was quickly overruled by Adams, who has emergency powers over the refugee crisis and accused Lander of playing politics.
Lander fired back Monday, saying DocGo’s concerns could lead to his office stripping the city of its emergency contracting authority.
The move would seriously tie the city’s hands in quickly responding to the thousands of migrants arriving in New York City each week.
Without the emergency powers, the city would have to get the comptroller and city legal department to sign off on any deal — or go through the standard 18-month contracting process, the administration said.
“If the comptroller decides to put politics over the well-being of asylum seekers and no longer declare this crisis an emergency, asylum seekers will have to sleep on the streets while they wait for the comptroller to approve city contracts,” said Charles Lutvak, a Representative for the mayor’s office.
The city has more than 1,000 contracts and subcontracts to care for the more than 110,000 migrants who have arrived in the Big Apple since spring 2022.
“We will cooperate fully with any information requested during the auditor’s review,” DocGo spokesman Michael Padovano said in a statement.