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Feds Audit Battery Park 

Federal audit looks into how city used funds to clean up Battery Park.

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Tropical Storm Ernesto's waters receded nearly three years ago, but the flood waters still threaten erosion under the feet of some former city officials.

Federal auditors are scrutinizing more than $38.4 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds that the city applied for and received to help repair damage in the hard-hit Battery Park neighborhood, according to state and city officials. 

The city auditor's office was in the early stages of auditing the Battery Park funding, City Auditor Umesh Dalal confirms. But his office has suspended its work “because the Battery Park project is being looked at by federal auditors,” he says.

Dalal is uncertain of the scope of the federal audit, he says. But city sources familiar with situation say that analysis of Battery Park had revealed potential improprieties with how construction and repair contracts were awarded, and raised questions about whether any contracts were altered in violation of procurement laws.

It's unclear from sources whether any of these matters are part of the scope of the federal audit. Dalal declines to comment on any Battery Park findings that resulted from the city audit.

Laura Southard, a spokeswoman with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, also confirms the federal audit is under way, but calls it “very routine” and says she's unaware that the audit might be scrutinizing areas of concern.

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