Hard evidence proving that an intentional work slowdown took place during the brutal December snow storm that rocked New York has been tough to come by.
Federal investigators have been looking into whether city workers intentionally cleared away snow ineffectively or not at all in an effort to protest job reductions and embarrass Mayor Bloomberg.
But as The New York Times reports today, the more prosecutors look into the allegations, the less concrete evidence they come up with.
The investigation was spurred by City Councilman Daniel Halloran, Republican of Queens, who claims five city workers came to his office during the storm and told him they had been ordered to take part in a slowdown.
Halloran said he was visited by two supervisors in the Transportation Department, but supervisors have not backed up his story. Halloran has also refused to divulge the names of the workers who told him about the slowdown.
Investigators had also hoped that publicity about the alleged slowdown would spur others to come forward and backup Halloran's claims. But, thus far, that hasn't happened.
As the New York Times notes, "this leaves prosecutors with no proof that anything occurred."
Halloran has also changed his account of what happened. At first, he claimed the workers had been told "to take off routes" and "not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner."
The Councilman has since backed off that account and now has said workers were not explicitly told to take part in a slowdown, but were subtly commanded to take their time with snow removal.
Halloran may be forced to give up the names of the workers who visited him, because his assertion that the conversation was covered by attorney-client privilege may not hold water, since the transportation employees likely came to him, not as a lawyer, but as a public official.
Halloran campaigned in Queens as a far-right conservative with Tea Party backing.