Toms River police are investigating a recent break-in and thefts of computers and hard-drives taken from a firm auditing overbilling at the state's post-Superstorm Sandy debris-removal contractor.
Police say an unknown person used a rock to break the glass window on the first floor at 10 Allen street, home of the Louis Berger Consulting Group, on either Oct. 8 or 9.
Removed were a Samsung laptop computer, a Toshiba laptop, three external hard drives, and three gold wedding rings, police said.
AshBritt, Inc., the firm hired by the state to haul debris after Superstorm Sandy, benefited from an “ambiguous” contract that resulted in at least tens of thousands in extra charges, according to a report released in June by the state-hired monitor, the Louis Berger Group, Inc.
“Discrepancies” had been found in AshBritt’s charges, the report from Louis Berger, Inc. says.
“When AshBritt began submittal of its invoices to Louis Berger, a discrepancy in the mileage was noted: AshBritt was consistently billing for approximately 2.5 miles in excess of what Louis Berger had identified as the shortest route,” the report says.
The AshBritt contract, which was taken from a deal negotiated with Connecticut in 2008, did not require trucks to take a specific route. Louis Berger instructed AshBritt to take the shortest possible route to and from the various sites. Odometer readings, a GPS, Google Maps and Map Quest were used to monitor mileage.
AshBritt’s invoices accounted for the total mileage between the temporary debris removal areas (TDMAs), which were selected by the 14 municipalities participating in Ocean County’s shared service agreement, and the landfill-tipping site, rather than just to the gate of the landfill as Louis Berger anticipated, the report says.
Another discrepancy was found in travel distances, Block said.
Payment is based on mileage brackets: 0-15 miles, 16-30 miles, 31-60 miles and so on, the report says, calling the contract “ambiguous on several key points.” Debris hauled 0-15 miles is charged at a lower rate than debris hauled 16-30 miles. The contract did not establish payment for debris hauled between 15.1 and 15.9 miles.
AshBritt charged 30 percent more for trips longer than 16 miles,according to The Record.
AshBritt made hundreds of trips to Ocean County’s landfill in Manchester, The Record reported. The contractor was credited for driving 2.5 miles within the landfill. The extra mileage extended the trip beyond the 16-mile mark. As a result, AshBritt charged some towns more than $500,000.