The Army was in charge of awarding
The first complaints started almost as soon as the first dump truck was loaded in November. Homeowners said workers were digging too deep and taking too much dirt from their lots. They also said perfectly fine driveways, retaining walls, sidewalks and the like were damaged or removed.
By the summer, nearly 1,000 homeowners had flooded the Army, state and local officials with complaints. After its contractors hauled away 2 million tons (1.8 million metric tons) of debris, the
"These folks were traumatized by the fire and then traumatized again by the cleanup," said Zane, who represents
In August, Zane and a contingent of
Ghilarducci said it's "probable" that unscrupulous contractors committed fraud, citing "egregious oversight" by federal officials.
"Given these subcontractors were paid per ton of soil removed, it is probable this over-excavation was an intentional effort to capitalize on this tragedy by defrauding the government," Ghilarducci wrote to the
Ghilarducci also argued the
"Due to this egregious oversight," Ghilarducci wrote, "contractors caused substantial damage to many survivors' properties resulting in revictimization of the affected wildfire survivors."
Several of them were cited by the
In addition, the
Petersen said conditions varied widely at the 4,563 properties
He said the Corps was satisfied with the work of the three main contractors, and "the great majority of subcontractors on the program operated with high professional standards."
Petersen said it was one of the biggest cleanup jobs after a natural disaster for the Corps, which is routinely called in after hurricanes and earthquakes but lacks experience with wildfires.
"This caused issues in the debris removal process," the
The GAO report made no recommendations but noted the cleanup effort was
Most complaints about the cleanup come from
Because the contractors showed up after an insurance adjuster inspected her property, Erickson said the damage done to her property by the cleanup wasn't factored into her insurance reimbursement.
"Paying those guys by the ton was stupid," she said. "Who wouldn't load their trucks with as much as they could?"