Thursday, February 25, 2010

Parks Department Contractor Disaster Continues

Staten Island/Bronx

A Yonkers construction company performing renovation work at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island and Owen Dolan Park in the Bronx says they are being forced into bankruptcy because the Parks Department owes them tens of thousands of dollars according to WABC News. This is a follow up to the June 4, 2009 nightmare story of delays and obfuscation from the Parks Department. 

"The Parks Department vigorously disagrees with the position Tuckahoe Construction. Work may begin at both sites. All permits are in place" the DPR Press office said in June 4, 2009.  However after Channel 7's follow up eight months later up the agency changed their spin.

The Parks Department blames the latest payment problem on an upgraded software system that authorizes payments to vendors.

"It's new," DPR's head spokesperson Vicki Karp said in a statement. "We've had some problems paying vendors. We're working to resolve the issue. The vendor who has been delayed in receiving his January payment will be paid with interest," 

There is no word on when that payment will come or how many small business owners are in the same situation, ABC News commented.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A Yonkers construction company owner says he's being forced into bankruptcy because New York City owes him tens of thousands of dollars.

Eyewitness News first reported about the firm's bureaucratic nightmare with New York City last spring. The problem was supposedly fixed, but the red tape is apparently back and worse than ever.

A number of construction firms who have contracts with the city say they never get paid on time and that it's one excuse after another. Most companies are afraid to speak out because they fear they'll get shut out of future contracts, but one small business owner says he has nothing more to lose.

"I need to sell my tools to pay my bills," Yonkers contractor Stylianos Nikas said. "I'm behind in my bills."

Nikas is so strapped for cash he's literally selling off the tools of his trade, basics that built his small family business.

"I need to pay my bills and the City of New York is responsible," Nikas said. "I'm going to lose my business. I always, I always pay my bills on time. Now, I cannot."

Nikas' financial headache with New York City's Parks Department was highlighted by Eyewitness News last June (CLICK HERE to read the previous story). His firm, Tuckahoe Construction, had won a lucrative contract to refurbish two parks. One was Clove Lakes on Staten Island. The other was Owen Dolan in the Bronx. Nikas claims work came to a screeching halt because the Parks Department didn't have approved plans or permits. The day after the Eyewitness News story aired, Nikas says he got the go ahead from the Parks Department to start work again. It was a brief victory.

Read/View More:

WABC News - February 24, 2010 - By Sarah Wallace

WABC News - June 4, 2009 - By Sarah Wallace

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