November 5, 2013
By Stephanie West
New York, N.Y. – Comptroller John C. Liu called on the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to discontinue its use of shelter provider Aguila Inc. in light of repeated failures to account for millions of dollars spent and the continued placement of people in shelters that are unsafe or unclean. He also called on City Hall to drop its lawsuit against the Comptroller’s office with regards to proposed contracts with Aguila.
“Despite their claims to the contrary, Aguila’s appalling record has not improved and DHS continues to turn a blind eye. At this point, DHS should just dump Aguila as a shelter operator, and City Hall should direct its resources towards fixing DHS rather than litigating against my office,” Comptroller Liu said. “Continued dysfunction is a grave disservice to the homeless in need as well as communities whose concerns and input have been bypassed.”
A new audit underscores a fraught history with DHS and Aguila. In a November 2011 audit, Liu called on DHS to recoup $1.4 million from Aguila and examine another $9 million in bills to see if taxpayers were entitled to recover more.
Their October 31 audit found that DHS has recouped only $558,412, and didn’t even investigate more than half of the total $10.4 million identified by the earlier audit as improper or insufficiently supported payments.