October 13, 2010; Source: Times Herald-Record | NPQ has been following stories about the fate of the weatherization contracts awarded under the stimulus act and the organizations that received them. While many of these contracts have overloaded and nearly smothered recipients with process, regulation, and late payments, this may be the first criminal investigation we’ve seen.

In Liberty, N.Y. the weatherization director for the Community Action Agency to Help the Economy (CACHE), James Crawley, is being accused of improperly steering four contracts to clean and tune furnaces to one firm, for a total of $13,775. The inspector general who investigated the situation has now forwarded the findings to the attorney general’s office so that criminal charges may be considered. Crawley, before his suspension from his $41,000 a year job, oversaw $500,000 annually in state weatherization moneys and also roughly $1.6 million in federal stimulus moneys.

These contracts have not (yet?) been withdrawn. The investigator general also uncovered the fact that the vendor worked on Crowley’s furnace for free (although there was no socializing). While we would not wish to participate in a rush to judgement on this, there are certainly lessons to be learned or reinforced in this article about what not to do in a position of public trust.—Ruth McCambridge