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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

School Roofing Contracts: Calculated Scam, Sure Fire Sham, or Well Thought Plan?

The following is copied from the first page of a report filed by the State of New Jersey's Commission of Investigation

"Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are spent annually in New Jersey on the construction and renovation of public schools. In coming years, this investment will reach well into the billions as the state redoubles efforts to provide safe and secure facilities for the education of its children. Will the money be spent properly? Will there be adequate oversight and accountability? Will taxpayers get what they pay for?
This report details the results of a comprehensive Commission inquiry into one aspect of school-based construction, the repair and replacement of roof systems, which individually represents the single most expensive and integral component of a school’s physical structure. The investigation was begun in late 1997 after the Commission
received confidential complaints suggesting abuse in the re-roofing of public schools.
Subsequent investigation revealed evidence of widespread cost-gouging; unscrupulous bidding practices; contract manipulation; questionable design, installation and inspection procedures and other abuses. The probe was statewide in scope, involving a review of
115 separate roofing projects in 39 school districts across 13 of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
Projects examined by the Commission carried a total taxpayer investment of more than $37.8 million.
The Commission’s findings reveal a systematic breach of the public trust.
Evidence of waste and abuse totaling between $6 million and $10 million was uncovered
in more than half of the districts where roofing projects were examined. Construction
budgets were squandered through unnecessarily costly roof repairs and replacements at
the hands of consultants and manufacturers’ sales representatives who contrived to line
their own pockets at taxpayer expense. Processes which govern public bidding and
contracting were subverted by those bent on putting personal gain ahead of the public
interest. Moreover, these abuses were sustained by the action, and inaction, of high-level
school district officials — in some instances, even after they had been alerted to potential

Go to the following link to read entire report:

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