Unused equipment worth over $780K

Unused equipment worth over $780K found in closed Rikers Island facility with secret lounge.

According to a city investigation that has recently come to light, employees of the Department of Correction in the city secretly hoarded expensive equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. They created a cosy hangout spot for themselves, complete with comfortable leather sofas, a large-screen TV, and even a mini-refrigerator. Surprisingly, all this was done inside an abandoned jail on Rikers Island.

According to a report by the city Department of Investigation in December 2021, an anonymous tip was received in the previous fall regarding the stockpiling of materials and equipment by the Department of Correction’s maintenance and repair division employees. The stockpiling was allegedly taking place in the James A. Thomas Center, a century-old jail condemned and closed in 2015.

During their inspection of the building in October 2020, investigators were astounded to find an enormous collection of impeccably maintained DOC equipment. The report revealed that the cache included tools worth $100,000, air filters valued at $450,000, 17 snow blowers and $230,000 worth of lockers intended to be installed at DOC facilities to uplift the morale of the staff. The discovery left the investigators amazed at the sheer magnitude of the found equipment.

One month later, the investigators were in for yet another shocking discovery. They stumbled upon a delightful lounge that seemed to have been constructed by unknown staff members. The lounge had a massive 70-inch television, a mini-fridge, two luxurious full-size leather couches, and even a fully functioning bathroom. It was indeed a pleasant surprise for the investigators.

According to the Department of the Interior, the individual who constructed the concealed sanctuary used materials obtained from the Department of Conservation, including lumber, plumbing, floor tiling, and electrical equipment to build a raised floor. Moreover, the person responsible also managed to tap into the facility’s power and piping lines to operate their covert hideout. Additionally, the builder carried out the installation of both heating and air conditioning.

The building was initially intended to be empty, yet someone had managed to sneak in.

According to a recent probe by the DOI, the Rikers Island jail was shut down several years ago due to its “age and decrepitude.” The Daily News was the first to report on the investigation findings, which revealed a secret lounge and unused equipment stashed away at the facility.

It was revealed that the jail had been contaminated with asbestos and lead, in addition to its other issues. The situation worsened by collapsing ceilings, chipping lead paint, cracked walls, and hollow floors. These factors likely contributed to the dangerous conditions within the jail.

According to a report from the Department of Investigation (DOI), which was received by The Post on Monday through a Freedom of Information Law request, the combination of various factors resulted in “multiple hazards,” making it unsafe for staff to be present in the building.

The reason behind storing the equipment in the jail remains a mystery, especially when most of it was recently purchased in 2017. It’s unclear why the decision was made to keep it there.

The correction department faced harsh criticism from investigators for their incredible oversight.

According to the report, the Department of Investigation (DOI) found numerous items in various jail sections that had a collective value of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the statement, the jail’s closure resulted in the improper storage of its items, causing many to be ruined by factors such as moisture, heat, and vermin. Some things had been left for so long that they had become obsolete.

According to the report, the outcome was a massive amount of waste. The report stated a severe absence of institutional supervision and no evident procedures to keep track of incoming and outgoing equipment, materials, and property.

The investigators interviewed the jail officials regarding the discoveries.

According to the report, the stored materials were known to at least one individual – a former DOC deputy commissioner whose identity has been redacted.

The origin of the lounge’s construction or renovation remains a mystery as no one seems to know the exact details.

According to a statement made by a DOC representative on Monday, the department has taken steps to address the issue by appointing new leaders for facilities management and restructuring the division. The focus is on ensuring the proper tracking and inventory of all equipment related to facilities.

According to the DOI report, several policy changes were suggested to address the problems. These changes included implementing new methods for equipment inventory, properly disposing of damaged equipment, and restricting access to the deteriorating building.

According to the statement, implementing this measure can prevent any catastrophic damage and destruction from happening again.

According to the report, the Department of Corrections (DOC) did not have adequate supervision and monitoring procedures to keep track of the equipment and property stored within their facility. As a result, the investigation found that the DOC lacked proper oversight and protocols for inventory management.

DOC property was wasted and destroyed due to these failures.

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