In a controversial revelation, records from DocGo, a contractor awarded a $432 million no-bid contract by Mayor Adams’ administration for migrant services, indicate that tens of thousands of uneaten meals prepared for migrants were discarded. DocGo, responsible for relocating migrants upstate, receives up to $33 per day to provide three meals for each of the 4,000 asylum seekers in its care. However, internal records reveal that over 70,000 meals were wasted between October 22 and November 22, with more than 5,000 meals discarded on November 6 alone.
The firm charges the city $11 per meal, the maximum allowed under its contract, resulting in the discarded food potentially costing taxpayers roughly $776,000 over a 20-day period or $39,000 per day. Despite internal logs reflecting the waste, a DocGo spokesperson disputed the data’s accuracy, claiming that meal consumption for migrants is currently at 93%. The spokesperson stated that the cost of meals is passed through directly to the city without markup, and most meals are procured through nonprofits, minority- and woman-owned caterers, and other small businesses.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development, overseeing the DocGo contract, mentioned that the average-per-meal price had recently been lowered to $7.82. These revelations come amid Mayor Adams making widespread budget cuts across city agencies to address the costs of the migrant crisis. Council members expressed concerns over the high costs and waste, with Councilwoman Gale Brewer calling the food waste outrageous and questioning the lack of oversight and transparency. Some migrants reported throwing out their meals due to poor quality or being served cold. DocGo has been under scrutiny for alleged mistreatment of migrants, leading to investigations by the offices of the New York state Attorney General and Governor Kathy Hochul.