NEW YORK (PIX11) — Employees from the New York City Department of Correction allegedly built a secret lounge stocked with stolen equipment inside a Rikers Island jail, according to a city investigation.

New York City investigators discovered the secret lounge filled with leather couches, a giant TV screen, and a stash of Correction Department equipment in 2020, according to the New York Daily News. The lounge was stocked with unused snowblowers, air conditioners, and other supplies that could’ve been used in the jail complex.

“The items were in some cases hidden in a hallway behind a false wall made out of plywood blocked with equipment or in rooms behind doors secured with combination locks,” the Daily News reported.

The Legal Aid Society says the alleged secret lounge is a “declaration of war on authority – and the perpetrators got away with it.”

“While incarcerated people suffer in heat emergencies in non-air conditioned cells, facilities are crumbling from lack of repair, and programming is cut for budget reasons, staff were hiding taxpayer funded supplies behind hidden walls,” said Mary Lynne Werlwas, the director of the Prisoners’ Rights Project at The Legal Aid Society.

“Corruption by law enforcement and civil rights abuses have gone hand in hand forever, but the brazenness of this scheme and its tolerance by authorities is astounding.”

Charline Charles is a digital journalist from Brooklyn who has covered local news along with culture and arts in the New York City area since 2019. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.