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NYC audit rips de Blasio handling of costly ferry project

A new report revealed that when former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was in office, his administration hid nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in spending on the city’s ferry system, fudging the number of taxpayer subsidies for a service that lost tens of millions each year.

Under de Blasio’s administration, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) took over operations of the New York City Ferry System, which handles six ferry routes stopping at more than two dozen landing stops at various waterfront locations. Tax money offset the cost of the trips, allowing tickets to go for $2.75 for a one-way ride.

“The audit determined that EDC did not disclose over $224 million in expenditures as ferry-related in its audited financial statements and that the actual subsidy per ride is approximately double the originally projected cost,” City Comptroller Brad Lander said in a letter to New York City residents that accompanied the audit report.

Lander continued, stating that the audit found that “EDC understated the City’s subsidy for the ferry operations by $2.08, $2.10, $3.98, and $4.29 for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively.” According to the audit report, during that time, the ferry system’s net losses were, respectively, $44 million, $53 million, $53 million, and $33 million.

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EDC’s response to the audit report claimed that they “properly disclosed all costs in its financial statements,” but they agreed to provide annual “enhanced reporting” in the future that would be posted on the agency’s website after they submit their regular financial statements.

The audit also stated that EDC made a number of decisions that “were not financially prudent.” This included $66 million in “unnecessary expenditures,” such as more than $34 million in overspending on vessels.

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After a failed bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, de Blasio is now running for Congress in New York’s newly redrawn Tenth District. He is in a crowded field that includes current Rep. Mondaire Jones, former House impeachment lead counsel Dan Goldman, former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.

Fox News reached out to de Blasio through his campaign for comment on the audit report, but they did not immediately respond. Wednesday evening, the former mayor told the New York Post in a statement that he had not read the report yet, “but if there are issues with underreporting at EDC, or by the ferry operators, that should be remedied and whatever accountability or reforms that are needed should be adopted.”

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