Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In today's Times, the lead story regards loss of $19M (or so) taxpayer funds; compare that to coverage of the MTA deal

From today's New York Times, lead story, headlined Company Admits It Bilked Clients on Big Projects:
The giant construction company that worked on Citi Field, the renovation of Grand Central Terminal and scores of other high-profile projects has admitted to a huge fraud scheme in which it overbilled clients for more than a decade and has agreed to pay $56 million in fines and restitution to avoid criminal charges, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

...The scheme carried out by the company defrauded government agencies and private developers of about $19 million, much of it tax money, Ms. Lynch said at a news conference. She was joined by officials from several other agencies to announce a deferred-prosecution agreement.

But the amount is most likely far higher because prosecutors said they believed that Lend Lease conducted the practice for decades and that it extended to other companies.
So, um, some $19 million, most of it tax money, was misappropriated? That's news.

But when Forest City Ratner renegotiates a deal with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to save much more than that--well, that's buried in an un-bylined short.

Yes, one's a crime and the other a politically freighted negotiation. But there's a similar bottom line: a cost to the public, and a private gain.

I get why a crime might be bigger news. But the gap in attention is way out of whack.

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