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May 15, 2013

Maragos Alerts DA and AG Prior to Releasing $12M Payment Owed to Superstorm Sandy Vendor

Mineola, NY - The Nassau County Comptroller’s Office completed its audit of the latest Superstorm Sandy claim from Looks Great Services, Inc, for debris removal. The Department of Public Works (“DPW”) had submitted and authorized the claim for payment accompanied with supporting documentation consistent with contractual obligations approved by the County Legislature.  However, as there are ongoing investigations by the Nassau County District Attorney (“DA”) and New York State Attorney General (“AG”) into debris removal firms, Comptroller Maragos has added an additional layer of protection for the taxpayers by sending letters to the DA and the AG alerting them of the pending payment.

“Prior to releasing this payment, as an added safeguard of taxpayer money, I have requested that the DA and the AG be given notice of the pending payment and requested to be  advised within 30 days if they have any reason to hold this payment due to their ongoing investigations,” Comptroller Maragos said. “The payment has met all the requirements for full reimbursement by FEMA to the County. Under the current contract, the County must make payment in a timely manner if all of the obligations have been met by the vendor.”

Looks Great was hired by the County under emergency procedures to remove vegetation debris as a result of Superstorm Sandy.  The total paid to Looks Great from October 30, 2012 to May 10, 2013 is $35,589,138. The current invoice in question is for the amount of $11,982,990. There are eight additional invoices from Looks Great that have been submitted by DPW totaling $13,817,852. These will be audited by the Comptroller’s Office in due course.

Each claim submitted by DPW is required to have supporting documentation to validate charges and adequately assure that the work was performed as per the terms of the contract or purchase order. The Looks Great claims are required to be supported with individual tickets for every tree cut. Each ticket provided the GPS coordinates of the tree cut, the signature of the independent monitor, the size of the trunk where appropriate, and the condition of tree.  . The price charged for each ticket was verified as per the purchase order price list for the service performed. The Comptroller’s Office relies on the supporting information from DPW and independent verification on the tickets to process the invoice.

PDF Letter to the Nassau County District Attorney regarding Looks Great Services PDF Letter to the New York State Attorney General regarding Looks Great Services

Connect with Nassau County Comptroller Maragos Online:
http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html

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