Feds seek info from Navigant in LIPA inquiry
Navigant Consulting, the Chicago-based firm at the center of a state investigation that found LIPA paid it exorbitant fees and travel expenses, has been asked to provide information to federal prosecutors, the company said Friday.
Long Island Power Authority officials on Thursday said the agency also had been contacted in connection with the inquiry and was cooperating.
Carrie Grapenthin, a spokeswoman for Navigant, in an email Friday said federal prosecutors contacted the company on July 10. She said investigators' request for information did not come in the form of a subpoena.
Grapenthin said the request from the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District included information to aid in the office's "investigation of concerns raised in the Moreland Commission report about Navigant's work for LIPA." The company is cooperating.
Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Brooklyn-based U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, declined to comment.
The requests for information follow the June release of a report by the state Moreland Commission, an investigative body empaneled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to look into LIPA and Con Ed's response to superstorm Sandy and other matters.
The commission found that nearly half of LIPA's $64.8 million professional services budget went to Navigant from 2008 to 2011. Navigant charged LIPA fees of as much as $500 an hour and one executive billed LIPA $4.5 million during that period. The company also billed LIPA for costly hotel stays and executive-level travel.
The commission referred its findings to the federal prosecutors to determine if they rose to the level of criminality. To date, no entity or person has been charged with any wrongdoing.
Navigant, in a prior statement, said its contracts with LIPA were competitively bid and scrutinized by state agencies and LIPA's board. Separately on Thursday, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli rejected a contract for Navigant to do consulting work for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, citing "serious flaws" in the proposed contract and lack of documentation to justify the sole-source contract award. The contract came in the form of a proposal from Navigant, according to a letter from DiNapoli, and was "significantly favorable to Navigant and potentially detrimental" to the institute.
As for DiNapoli's letter, Grapenthin said the work was "part of a competitive bid process. We believe our initial assessment work yielded good results for Roswell and we were looking forward to assisting with the implementation of our recommendations. As we understand the situation, the Phase II proposal was declined by the state because they are requiring a public bid for the work."