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NYC Investigators Found More Than $800K In Unused Equipment In Closed Rikers Island Facility

NYC investigators found more than $780K in unused equipment in closed Rikers Island facility that contained hidden lounge.

Workers from the city’s Department of Correction squirreled away hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of unused equipment — and built themselves a makeshift lounge replete with leather sofas, a big-screen TV and a mini-fridge — inside an abandoned jail on Rikers Island, according to a recently-unearthed city investigation.

The city Department of Investigation, in its December 2021 report, said it got an anonymous tip the previous fall about employees of the DOC’s maintenance and repair division stockpiling all sorts of materials and equipment in the James A. Thomas Center – a century-old jail that had been condemned and closed in 2015.

When they inspected the building in October 2020, investigators found a mammoth cache of pristine DOC equipment — including $100,000 in tools, $450,000 worth of air filters, 17 snow blowers and $230,000 worth of lockers that, at one time, were supposed to be installed at DOC facilities to “boost morale,” the report said.

A month later, investigators stumbled upon another unexpected surprise: A sweet lounge, apparently built by mystery staffers, outfitted with a 70-inch TV, a mini-fridge, two full-size leather couches and a fully-working bathroom.

Whoever built the hidden retreat used DOC-bought lumber, floor tiling, plumbing and electrical equipment to build a raised floor and install heat and air conditioning. They also hacked into the facility’s power and piping lines to run their makeshift playground, the DOI said.

The only problem?

Nobody was supposed to be in the building to begin with.

Jail officials had closed the facility years earlier because of its “age and decrepitude,” according to the findings of the DOI probe, which were first reported by the Daily News .

The jail also had asbestos and lead contamination, which were likely exacerbated by collapsing ceilings, chipping lead paint, cracked walls and sunken floors.

Taken together, this created “multiple hazards and should have prevented staff from being in the building,” states the DOI report, obtained by The Post Monday via a Freedom of Information Law request.

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