The Bronx Hall of Justice’s civic plaza is at last partially open to the public, after a Bronx Justice News investigation revealed years of financial waste and construction delays at the controversial site.
The incident happened about 1:30 p.m. on East 161st Street near Concourse Village West, the same block where DA’s headquarters and the Bronx Hall of Justice are located.
The DOI probe, now officially underway, marks the first time a government agency has investigated the troubled courthouse on East 161st Street, which opened three years behind schedule, ran $100 million over budget, and spurred a host of lawsuits involving more than 30 parties, from architects and engineers to construction contractors and state agencies.
The state Dormitory Authority spent more than $400 million in taxpayer dollars to construct the Bronx Hall of Justice, but says it doesn’t know how much of that amount went toward building the property’s civic plaza—a sprawling, unused space that remains closed eleven years after its slated opening date.
Erin Hall, 42, of 1950 Andrews Avenue, fatally shot Felix De La Cruz,who challenged Hall with taunts of “do it, do it,” before Hall shot him in the head on April 15, 2015, according to eyewitness testimony at Hall’s trial.
Research shows more than 26 percent of Bronx residents experience food insecurity—defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Among them are more than 20 percent of all Bronx children, nearly 17 percent of working adults, and almost 24 percent of seniors, according to federal data.
In response to a Freedom of Information Law Request by Bronx Justice News, the state Dormitory Authority on Wednesday said it was still searching its records to determine how much taxpayer money it spent to construct the Bronx Hall of Justice—including its still-shuttered civic plaza.
New York taxpayers were bilked out of millions of dollars as part of a massive overbilling scheme involving the Bronx Hall of Justice—one of a host of missteps that led to over $100 million in cost overruns and years of litigation involving the project, Bronx Justice News has learned.
When former New York Attorney General and City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell first called for an investigation into the Bronx Hall of Justice in 2007, his pleas fell on deaf ears. Now, with a Department of Investigation probe looming, he says it’s about time the city get to the bottom of what went wrong.
After more than a decade of taxpayer waste and mismanagement at the Bronx Hall of Justice, Councilman Ritchie Torres’ announcement of an official investigative referral doubled as a stinging rebuke—not just of the government bureaucracies responsible for building and maintaining the troubled courthouse, but also of the oversight system that allowed its myriad problems to go unchecked.