Monday, March 23, 2009

Probers looking at whether Adolfo Carrión got a steep discount on home renovations

Monday, March 23rd 2009, 4:00 AM

Lombard for News

Adolfo Carrión Jr. speaks outside the Bronx County Building.

The probe of White House urban czar Adolfo Carrión has widened to explore whether he received a significant discount on the renovation of his home, the Daily News has learned.

The former Bronx borough president, who started last month as President Obama's director of urban policy, has acknowledged that he has not paid the architect, even though the work was done two years ago.

Now a law enforcement agency has obtained documents from the contractor who built a new porch and installed a balcony on Carrión's Victorian home on City Island, sources familiar with the investigation told The News.

The documents show the project's estimated cost was $50,000. Carrión wound up paying less than half the estimate - $24,000.

The Bronx district attorney has said he's looking into The News' report that Carrión had yet to pay his architect. The office declined to comment about the latest inquiry.

Early last week, investigators seized documents from Nationwide Maintenance of the Bronx, the firm's owner said. Investigators also obtained an October 2006 document signed by Carrión and filed with the city Buildings Department listing the "estimated total cost" as $50,000. That figure is typed in, as the document requires.

On that same document, the $50,000 figure was crossed out and replaced with a penciled-in lower figure - $32,000.

The owner of Nationwide said the final cost was even lower - $24,000.

Owner Marcie Manfredonia said she didn't know what the other figures were and said Carrión and his wife paid her for the construction work. No other entity helped pay the bill, she said.

Asked how she got the job, she said she was referred to Carrión by someone in the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. She could not recall whom.

Asked if she built both the porch and the balcony, she replied, "I'm not really sure. I think we did both of them, but I don't know. We did a job and we were paid for it and exactly what we did we were paid for."

Carrión has said he paid the contractor for the work, although he has refused repeated requests by The News to supply proof of that payment or reveal the total amount.

In one of several statements on the house renovation, Carrión said, "I hired a contractor to perform the porch renovations and fully paid that firm for the construction work that was completed."

The questions about the cost of construction come on the heels of revelations that Carrión has yet to pay the project's architect.

Carrión has said the architect, who at the time was seeking his approval for a major Bronx development, worked 51-1/2 hours for a total of $3,627.50. Carrión said the architect has yet to submit a bill.

On Friday, Carrión's only response to several News questions about the payments to the contractor was to say the contractor "was paid in full for his work by personal check."

The White House, which last week fielded questions about Obama's NCAA picks, refused to respond to multiple questions about Carrión's house.

rgearty@nydailynews.com

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