From CBS 4 Miami, 09/24/2018:
One year after Governor Rick Scott responded to the devastation of Hurricane Irma by ignoring the debris removal contracts already in place in the Florida Keys and opting instead to hire more expensive companies to do the work, the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security is launching his own investigation into what happened, CBS Miami News has learned.
The audit follows a written request by the eleven Florida Democrats in Congress who called on the IG to initiate a review, arguing “tens of millions of federal taxpayer dollars are being squandered.”
In their letter, the Florida Democrats cited the results of a CBS Miami investigation which found one of the companies the state selected after the storm had no previous emergency debris removal experience, while more qualified firms were prevented from even submitting bids. An analysis by CBS Miami found the governor’s emergency contracts will end up costing taxpayers an additional $28 to $30 million.
… The emergency contracts were the focus of a series of stories by CBS Miami, entitled Debris Debacle. The stories detailed how Scott’s administration issued emergency contracts for the lucrative work of clearing fallen trees, palm fronds, as well as the remnants of destroyed homes and trailers.
… CBS Miami reviewed more than $43 million worth of invoices submitted by Munilla Construction Management (MCM) and Community Asphalt, the two firms selected to operate in the Keys under the emergency contract.
If the Governor used one of the companies already under contract with the state, it would have cost taxpayers as little as $13 million to do the exact same work.
The prices in the emergency contracts were believed to be the highest in the state.
For instance, to sweep curbs and gutters, MCM charged $913 a mile while the three firms the governor ignored would have charged far less – between $12 and $123.