Senior centers have been shuttered, libraries have slashed their hours and more than 1,000 city workers face layoffs.
Who’s to blame?
City officials say at least some of the heat is on music mogul Sean (Diddy) Combs, hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh, Mickey Rourke’s plastic surgeon and Remy Ma’s defense lawyer.
They’re among thousands of people and companies that collectively owe $1.9 billion, the city says.
Also on the list: A pay phone company with reputed mob ties, an insurance company busted in a fraud ring and the governments of Hungary, Bulgaria and Libya.
While some of the boldface names deny that they’re in hock, the shocking tally is a sizable chunk of the $4.9 billion shortfall that just forced the city to cut funding to schools, day care centers and other treasured services. And that’s just delinquent taxes, fines and parking tickets – it doesn’t even include the $313 million that deadbeats owe for unpaid water bills.
“We are going to find these people,” vowed Finance Commissioner David Frankel. “We’re going to turn them upside down by their ankles and we’re going to shake them until the money comes out of their pockets.”
Frankel is leading a new effort to go after scofflaws – and make crucial improvements to the city’s collection system that critics say is long overdue.