Postal Service:

Decisions to Purchase Two Properties in Queens, New York

GGD-92-107BR: Published: Jul 17, 1992. Publicly Released: Aug 26, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the acquisition of property by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for the general mail facility in Queens, New York, and subsequent management decisions.

GAO found that: (1) one site that USPS purchased was unusable because of hazardous waste contamination; (2) USPS removed the contingency on hazardous waste cleanup prior to title transfer, although the seller was still contractually responsible for the cleanup; (3) the cleanup has not been completed; and (4) additional asbestos contamination has been found and the seller has been unwilling to assume removal responsibility, making use or disposal of the property questionable and costly. GAO also found that: (1) the price USPS paid for another site was 44 percent more than its fair market value; (2) USPS justified that acquisition by citing operational savings, competition, and cost savings over the first site; and (3) the original cost estimate for the second site has been surpassed, and USPS has requested additional funding.

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