$100M storm debris-removal contract to be reviewed

    New Jersey’s most powerful elected Democrat has called for a state Senate panel to investigate a no-bid contract for debris cleanup awarded by the Christie administration after Superstorm Sandy.

    Senate President Stephen Sweeney on Monday asked the Legislative Oversight committee to examine the state’s $100 million contract with AshBritt Inc. of Florida.

     

    Sweeney also called for tighter controls over interactions between lobbyists and local officials following a report in The Star-Ledger of Newark that AshBritt subcontracted with politically connected lobbyists to help it get additional debris-removal work from stricken municipalities.

    Gov. Chris Christie encouraged towns to contract with AshBritt as well, and 43 ultimately signed on.

    The legislative committee will look at the firm’s rates, which were reported to be double that of its competitors. They’ll also look into why business and environmental regulations needed to be waived.

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