Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez has won the 2010 George Polk Award for Commentary for exposing massive fraud by consultants hired to eliminate chicanery in the city payroll system.
Gonzalez's reporting uncovered a taxpayer boondoggle of more than $720 million in the CityTime contract.
His hard-hitting columns led to the federal indictments of four consultants and their relatives, and the resignation of the director of the city's office of payroll administration.
"It's a great honor, but best of all is the news that prosecutors seized $27 million from bank accounts of dummy companies tied to the fraud," Gonzalez said. "For once, taxpayers got some of their stolen money back."
It is the second time that Gonzalez, 62, has won the prestigious honor named after the CBS newsman killed in 1949 while covering the civil war in Greece. Long Island University bestows the annual award to honor the best in American journalism.
"All our judges agreed that his scoops and his doggedness were instrumental in bringing this scandal of waste to taxpayers' money to light," said John Darnton, curator of the George Polk Awards.