Fox News Channel NYC giving Texas company millions to book coronavirus hotel rooms by Lucas Manfredi
New York City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), chair of the city contracts committee, has called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to cancel the contract, estimating that the overhead from the contract alone is costing taxpayers roughly $3,000 per month. He told FOX Business the city council is "openly investigating the matter" to make sure meals are actually being provided to those who need it.
"I will be investigating to see that there weren't any false claims and I want the city to cancel this quarter-billion-dollar contract before they spend any more money," Kallos said. "It was a bad deal, and now that we're on the other side of the curve, we need to cancel this contract and do better."
While Kallos believes helping essential workers who can't go home is a good idea, he would prefer to cut out the middle man and give the money directly to the hotels impacted by the pandemic to begin with.
"It's a good way to support the local branch of the economy," Kallos said. "I think it's just the more we can give to hotels directly versus the intermediaries in Texas is preferred."
He added that he is disappointed that no one from OEM or the mayor's office has taken responsibility for the contract.
"Even if all they say is, 'This was a pandemic and we got what we could get when we could get it and we're going to get a better contract right now,' that's all I'd love to hear," Kallos said.
If the city canceled the contract immediately, Kallos says taxpayers could save the roughly $235 million that hasn't been spent yet.