De Blasio let nearly $ 38 million go to shelters that killed two children

The scandal-ridden crisis center operator, who was barred by the outgoing mayor de Blasio from receiving city contracts after two children were killed by a leaking radiator at one of its locations, came within a breath after receiving several million in city funds equally under the mayor’s nose, has The Post. taught.

The money would have flowed through a $ 38.7 million deal to operate and renovate a dilapidated four-story shelter owned and formally operated by the Bushwick Economic Development Corporation on Chauncey Street in Brooklyn.

The BEDCO exile, to allow the fatal scalding of the children who slept right next to the radiator when it exploded, meant that the shelter operator could no longer receive contracts directly, but it still stood to benefit greatly from the complex’s overhaul and continued operation as its landlord.

Records show that the deal was only broken because the Sheriff’s Office seized the building from BEDCO as part of an ongoing legal dispute over unpaid debt – not a moral objection to doing business with the firm again through a proxy, recognized officials.

“The city should not reopen any business with BEDCO, and they should not do any new business with BEDCO,” said outgoing councilor Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the homeless services committee.

“There is no reason in the world for BEDCO to be a landlord for an urban program at all.”

BEDCO’s list of sins was long.

The baby sisters - Ibanez, 2, and Scylee, 1 - died after being scalded by steam on Wednesday when the radiator they were shown sleeping next to did not work at the BEDCO shelter.
The baby sisters – Ibanez, 2, and Scylee, 1 – died after being scalded by steam on Wednesday when the radiator they were shown sleeping next to did not work at the BEDCO shelter.
for the New York Post

The Department of Investigation informed DHS in 2019 that non-profit chief Frank Boswell paid himself $ 651,000 – much of it unreported – when the group failed to perform necessary maintenance and even pay the rent on its buildings.

These results came two years after City Hall moved to BEDCO’s contracts to run cluster and hotel residences following the gruesome scalding deaths of 2-year-old Ibanez and 1-year-old Scylee Ambrose.

Its brick and mortar shelter operations – including Chauncey Street – were also during a 90-day review. But BEDCO continued to operate the shelter for another three years because DHS struggled to find a new operator for the building.

The replacement chosen by officials?

CORE Services Group, which lost its city contracts this year after The Post and The New York Times published twin studies detailing widespread self-employment by CEO Jack Brown.

BEDCO’s arrangement with CORE Services – to be paid for by taxpayers through DHS – also fits the pattern, giving Brown another opportunity to cash in.

The needs of the building were enormous, according to an evaluation by an architectural firm. Its boiler did not work, most radiators lacked their protective covers and knobs, some of the fire doors in the stairs were “defective”, several rooms lacked doors, the lighting was inadequate, and the fire alarm panel was faulty.

BEDC top officials like Frank Boswell paid themselves as much as $ 651,000, even though the nonprofit failed to pay rent at its shelters and solve dangerous security problems.
BEDCO top officials like Frank Boswell paid themselves as much as $ 651,000, even though the nonprofit organization failed to pay rent on its shelters and solve dangerous security issues.
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The report estimated it would take $ 1 million to bring the building up to snuff.

The lease between BEDCO and CORE specified the contractor to lead the renovation – a for-profit owned by Brown.

It also specified the estimate of $ 1 million “should not be considered a maximum guaranteed price” for the project and gave up to $ 6.5 million by allowing Brown to give $ 30,000 in discount per month from the rent during the rental period, which can last for 18 years.

The Department of Homeless Services typically covers all costs associated with the operation and maintenance of a shelter, but declined to say how much it would have paid BEDCO to rent the building through CORE Services.

The money would have flowed through a $ 38.7 million deal to operate and renovate a run-down shelter owned by the Bushwick Economic Development Corporation.
The money would have flowed through a $ 38.7 million deal to operate and renovate a run-down shelter owned by the Bushwick Economic Development Corporation.
for the New York Post

Officials would only say they withdrew the contract in “early 2021”, but refused to specify the date they terminated the event.

A spokesman for CORE identified the sheriff’s sale as one reason the deal fell through.

“CORE Services Group has never operated a shelter on the property in question and has no plans to do so,” said a representative. “The organization has been informed that the property is the subject of a sheriff’s sale.”

DHS officials acknowledged the discovery “that the Sheriff’s Office was auctioning off the building due to the owner’s accumulated unpaid debt” was a factor in their decision.

But they argued that the decision came primarily as a result of DHS’s oversight of Brown’s nonprofit.

“While a proposal was selected to run the site with another provider prior to the pandemic, we later decided as a result of our oversight efforts, ongoing reviews and other factors not to proceed with the proposal – as a result, a contract was never signed let alone completed, ā€¯claimed DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn.

The records tell a different story:

  • They show that DHS applied for approval in May 2020 to grant CORE Services the $ 38.7 million contract to operate the shelter from July 2020 and June 2025;
  • The request came even though DHS had launched a review of CORE Services a month earlier, in April 2020 – a review that came three years after contracting officials first raised flags;
  • BEDCO and CORE Services entered into the lease in June 2021, subject to the conclusion of the DHS contract;
  • DHS’s own maintenance logs listed CORE Services as operator as late as August 2021, although residents never returned after the pandemic hit.

That same August, the Sheriff’s Office filed paperwork to seize Chauncey Street shelters as part of a years-long dispute over unpaid bills between BEDCO and another Brooklyn landlord.

The records show that DHS did not formally protest against Brown’s creation of for-profit subcontractors until August 2021.

McGinn described the log entries as a mistake, accusing staff of being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a further statement from Friday, McGinn reiterated DHS’s position that it has no control over the landlords selected by non-profit organizations as crisis center operators.

A memorial by candlelight at the site where two toddlers were killed in a freak radiator explosion.
A memorial by candlelight at the site where two toddlers were killed in a freak radiator explosion.
Christopher Sadowski

“The city has not done and does not intend to do business with BEDCO after we shut them down,” he added.

The story of the Chauncey Street shelter is a damning example of DHS’s struggle to oversee the non-profits it relies on and to eradicate the transplant: Overall, struggling providers like CORE and BEDCO scored $ 4.6 billion of the $ 15, 8 billion in DHS contracts since Mayor de Blasio took office.

The building’s saga is also an illustration of the unmanageability of Big Apple’s now decades-old housing and homelessness crisis.

The building in which it is located was once the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital, which was abandoned in the 1960s when the turmoil that would drag the city to the abyss of collapse first enclosed poor neighborhoods like Bushwick.

Former Mayor John Lindsay planned to demolish Evangelical Deaconess and replace it with a municipal health center.

He was forced to turn the course in 1971 when his administration came under intense criticism to place homeless hotels in New York, ranging from unsafe run-down motels to the Ritz Carlton.

It would be the city’s first ‘relocation facility’.

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