Head of CityTime Suspended Without Pay After Massive Fraud Revealed
MANHATTAN -- The man behind the embattled CityTime project has been suspended without pay effective immediately, following allegations of fraud.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Comptroller John Liu suspended Joel Bondy, executive director of the Office of Payroll Administration, Thursday after four contractors were charged with stealing $80 million from the city while working on CityTime, an automated payroll system designed -- ironically -- to prevent fraud.
The men accused in the heist are employees at a company called Spherion, where Bondy also used to work, according to the New York Post. Bondy was allowed to assume the $205,180-a-year oversight position at CityTime after he received a conflict-of-interest waiver from Bloomberg in 2004, the paper added.
Department of Investigation officers seized $850,000 from a safe deposit box Thursday, just before one of the defendants showed up with an empty duffel bag, according to the Post.
Responsibility for operating CityTime was handed over to the City's Financial Information Services Agency following news of the scandal, the Mayor's Office said in a statement. Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith and Liu's office will oversee the project.
"Any violation of the public's trust is categorically unacceptable and we are implementing a series of changes to reform oversight of the CityTime project," Bloomberg said in the statement.
"We will do everything possible to ensure any taxpayer dollars that were fraudulently distributed are recouped and that those who were complicit in attempting to scam the public face the full force of the law," he said.
The city is now working with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to investigate whether any additional funds were misused.
CityTime has long been a troubled project, with countless delays and budget troubles. Only 35 percent of city employees were using CityTime as of June 2010, when the project was supposed to be completed, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
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