NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — Call it the “blizzard backlash.”
Criminal investigations are under way to find out why it took so long to dig out from last week’s massive snow storm.
Videos released exclusively to CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer suggest that the clean-up job may have been dirtier than once thought.
One video is now in the hands of prosecutors. It shows two sanitation trucks driving down 155th Street in the Whitestone section of Queens after the blizzard without removing the snow.
Their plows were apparently raised and the snow was left untouched in their wake, apparent proof that some in the Sanitation Department engineered a work slowdown.
“[It’s a] tremendous shock,” said NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran, R-Queens.
WCBS 880 Reporter Rich Lamb talks with Sanitation Commisioner John Doherty about a possible slow-down
Halloran said he was told by a number of sanitation workers that their supervisors told them to take their time, that one at City Hall cared about them.
But sources tell Kramer that’s just one of the things in the city’s botched blizzard response being investigated for criminal wrongdoing by Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, the Department of Investigation and district attorneys in Queens and Brooklyn.
Sanitation workers spotted asleep on the job, apparently hanging out at a Coney Island Dunkin Donuts for 11 straight hours and some drinking beer for six or seven hours instead of working are all being probed.
“If they find people that did criminal acts they’re going to arrest them,” Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.
Sources tell Kramer that one of the most amazing charges being investigated concerns the reported refusal of some sanitation supervisors to give assignments to crews of Department of Transportation plows that were sent to sanitation districts to plow residential and secondary streets in the outer boroughs, leaving them impassable.
“They were there to be deployed to do the secondary streets while sanitation did primaries and they sat and waited and they radioed in and said what’s going on with the deployment and were told to sit and wait, they would be assigned,” Halloran said.
Kramer: “For six hours? For eight hours?”
Halloran: “For six to eight hours. In other words, one full shift.”
Sources said two Department of Transportation supervisors have already been questioned by investigators.
“After looking at what happened there’s going to be hell to pay for the people who caused this and everyone’s going to be held accountable,” Halloran said.
Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hern said the city is aggressively trying to pursue evidence of deliberate wrongdoing. She is urging members of the public and city employees to contact the agency.
She said information will be kept confidential.