Federal contractors just saved a ton of money on gym memberships, stiffing taxpayers with the bill.
Hired by the Environmental Protection Agency to manage one of its largest warehouses, at least 11 contractors used the space for their own personal relaxation, claims a new report released Monday by the EPA’s inspector general.
Employees for Maryland-based Apex Logistics LLC, which has received $5.3 million from the EPA since 2007, created a makeshift gym inside the warehouse with government-owned exercise equipment. They also set up personal spaces with televisions and microwaves, decorated with photos and calendars, all conveniently hidden out of the view of security cameras in the 70,000 square foot warehouse in Landover, MD.
And while the contractors were apparently making themselves comfortable, the leased facility they were paid to operate was rotting and falling apart. Investigators found the warehouse in “deplorable conditions” with mold, signs of corrosion and rodent feces scattered about.
Auditors said the warehouse—rented for $750,000 a year—stores large amounts of expensive, unused equipment, ranging from computers to pianos, and agency sensitive files like expired employee passports and legal information, all found in unsecured open boxes scattered across the warehouse.
EPA management had not visited the facility prior to the investigation, raising “significant concerns with the lack of agency oversight of personal property and warehouse space,” Elkins said.
After EPA officials were notified of the warehouse’s conditions on May 16, the agency immediately issued a stop-work order to Apex Logistics and escorted employees off the premises. This was the sole contract EPA had with Apex.
Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe has now ordered the conditions at all EPA warehouse and storage facilities to be evaluated, according to the report.