The Real Deal New York

City’s chief property manager doesn’t properly track its real estate: Stringer

Comptroller's office found lack of oversight at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services
By Claire Moses | March 27, 2015 06:02PM

A new audit from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office found that the Department of Citywide Administrative Services — which is the city’s chief property manager — cannot accurately track the more than 19 million square feet of office space it administers.

The comptroller’s audit found that the DCAS didn’t have an accurate inventory list of available office space, didn’t consistently follow protocols for space request evaluations, and doesn’t know exactly how much property it manages. 

There was also a lack of adequate controls to curb unnecessary spending, the report found, because the department didn’t track or account for vacated office space, the comptroller’s office said.

“With space at such a premium, New Yorkers know you’ve got to account for every square inch of property in this City,” Stringer said in a statement. “It’s inconceivable that we can’t accurately identify exactly what space we own and lease, but that’s exactly what we discovered in our DCAS audit and it’s an unconscionable failure,” he added.

As a result of the department’s negligence and inefficiency, New York City’s taxpayers could be on the hook for unnecessary payments to property owners, the report found.

City government offices occupy more than 19 million square feet of space, which includes 12.5 million square feet leased for $365 million per year, and 6.5 million square feet of city-owned space that the report said costs $70 million per year to operate and maintain.

The comptroller’s audit took a look at the agency’s management of 51 buildings that are owned by the city as well as two privately owned buildings, during the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.