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DiNapoli: Staten Island firm overcharged state for fuel during Sandy response

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is seen

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is seen in this photo from Sept. 19, 2014. Credit: AP

A Staten Island catering firm overcharged the state $20,000 for fuel during the emergency response after superstorm Sandy in 2012, the state comptroller's office said Thursday.

"In times of disasters, most New Yorkers pull together to help each other, not to make a quick buck," Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement.

DiNapoli advised the Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA), which bought the fuel for the New York Army National Guard, to recoup excess fees from the firm, Arrochar Meats Inc.

The owner of the company was not immediately available to comment.

DiNapoli found that Arrochar "inexplicably acted as an unnecessary middleman" by purchasing 18,960 gallons of fuel, adding nearly $20,000 to the purchase price and using other companies to deliver the fuel.

The comptroller's report concludes that DMNA paid up to $1.68 more per gallon than the price offered on state centralized contracts. The rate could be characterized as price gouging had the public been charged that price, DiNapoli said.

The total fuel bill for the period from Oct. 29, 2012 through Nov. 13 was $94,610.

The comptroller's auditors found that two other vendors had proposed lower prices but were not selected.

"Although the actions to select Arrochar were not illegal, they violated DMNA's obligation to seek a reasonable cost and act in the best interest of the state," he said.

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