NYC Found to Have Serious Loophole Regarding Contractor Background Checks

A recent news story from points to a significant loophole in New York City’s approach to background checks for contractors. A professional swindler, one who spent three years in prison for bad checks and several other crimes, was able to start a contracting business and had applied for and received multiple city contracts. He, in turn, cheated his workers.

Nicholas Analitis, who had previously stolen $500,000, forged licenses, and had been charged with identity theft, had started a contracting business just out of leaving prison in 2009. In applying for contractor work with the city’s Parks department, he did not include his criminal past and, as a result, was awarded multiple contracts, worth thousands of dollars, over two years. Roughly two weeks ago, Analitis was arrested after paying workers at a Harlem building site, many of them immigrants who were originally reluctant to come forward, $50,000 worth of bad checks. Additionally, Analitis was arrested in March 2012 on more phony checks charges.

How could a city make such a glaring oversight, particularly when it comes to such projects? revealed that the Procurement Policy Board expects contracting agencies to look at all companies hired, but only businesses, or independent contractors, receiving contracts above $100,000 are thoroughly screened. Companies or contractors under this amount do not receive full reviews. With Analitis not being forthright in his applications, his significant criminal history was able to slip through the cracks.

How responsible should employers, when using third parties for services, be when it comes to background checks? If schools can screen every volunteer that comes through, why shouldn’t a company, receiving thousands of dollars to complete a project, be expected to go through similar, if not more rigorous, scrutiny? As this gross oversight indicated, New York’s agencies need to closely comb through every application and not, instead, rank them by cost.

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