NEW YORK POST
By Priscilla DeGregory
November 15, 2021 5:21pm
A lawsuit claims that the city's $1.45 billion contract to help protect Manhattan form flooding did not have enough involvement from woman and minority owned businesses.
A nearly $1.5 billion contract to protect Manhattan from flooding is all wet when it comes to making good on the city’s pledge to involve minority- and women-owned businesses, a new lawsuit alleges.
Plaintiffs including the Black Institute and the Women Empowerment Coalition of NYC, Inc. claim that the $1.45 billion contract the city signed with IPC Resiliency Partners for the project fails to meet city and federal hiring-quota goals, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court suit Monday.
The suit is seeking to block the contract with IPC from going forward.
“For [Mayor] Bill de Blasio to approve a project with such a minimal if not non-existent requirement for minority- and women-owned businesses runs against everything that he says he stands for,” plaintiff lawyer Arthur Schwartz told The Post.
“It’s particularly distressing given that this project is going on opposite the largest concentration of black and Hispanic tenants south of 96th Street.”
The planned East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will span 2.4 miles on the east side of Manhattan from Montgomery Street to East 15th Street.
It is billed as a sustainable waterfront project to help stop flooding from storms and rising sea levels and maintain water views by putting in place flood breaks and sea walls and raising esplanades, parks and piers.
IPC’s proposal doesn’t specify which companies and contractors it plans to use, only saying it will hire 16 percent minority and women’s businesses, the suit claims.
But that percentage is far below the city- and federal-set goals of using at least 30 percent of these types of businesses in the federally and state-funded project, the filing alleges.
City Department of Design and Construction spokesman Ian Michaels told The Post, “The city has complied with every requirement of [Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises] law in awarding the contract for work in East River Park.
“We’re confident in our legal position,” the rep added.
Construction on a portion of the project near the East River Park has already been temporarily halted by a judge in a separate ongoing lawsuit that alleged the project wasn’t properly passed through the state legislature.