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Port Authority Asserts It Overpaid for Security

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Author Topic: Port Authority Asserts It Overpaid for Security  (Read 64 times)
Kristin Moore
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Posts: 5129

« on: April 10, 2011, 01:53:43 am »

 The Port Authority said it was still reviewing bills and logs to determine the extent of the overcharges. The authority signed a two-year, $5 million annual contract with City Wide Security in January 1989 to patrol the twin towers' doorways, stairwells, lobbies and offices. The contract, which was renewed last year for another year, is due to expire in December.

Although an internal inquiry is continuing, Mr. Maikish estimated yesterday that over the last two years City Wide overcharged the Port Authority by $200,000 to $500,000.

Mr. Maikish said the overcharges came largely through overtime. Although the contract specifies that City Wide charge the Port Authority its regular hourly rate if overtime is booked more than 24 hours in advance, City Wide frequently charged the authority time and a half, something the authority's oversight monitors should have, but did not, pick up, Mr. Maikish said.

In most but not all cases, City Wide Security was believed to have paid its employees the same amount it charged the Port Authority. The authority said it intends to recoup all the lost money.

"There was no windfall that we know of to City Wide," Mr. Maikish said. "I don't think it was anything vile."

Several tenants at the Trade Center reacted with surprise yesterday to the authority's disclosure of the cleaning overcharges.

Alex Smith, the administrative manager of facilities at the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, which occupies seven floors of the Trade Center, said he had not yet determined how much, if any, Ogden Allied had overcharged his firm. "At this point, we're trying to figure out what is going on," said Mr. Smith, whose company had contracted with Ogden Allied to provide cleaning services that were more frequent and more thorough than those offered through its lease with the Trade Center.

Although Mr. Smith said he had never been told of the Port Authority's responsibility to monitor that contract, he said he was still satisfied with the authority's management of the Trade Center.

"You have to sit back and say, in the overall scheme of the world, these buildings are huge in size," Mr. Smith said. "Given that, they are efficiently operated."

Stanley Brezenoff, executive director of the Port Authority, stressed yesterday that the authority was moving quickly to improve its contract monitoring. He said the authority was drawing up new contract formats, imposing tighter controls on those contracts and reviewing contract terms more frequently.

He also said the authority has withheld, in each of the last two months, 15 percent of its monthly payment to Ogden Allied in an effort to build a war chest that could reimburse tenants if the company refuses to do so.

The authority also plans to bring in an outside consulting concern to overhaul the Trade Center's cost accounting system.
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