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New York's comptroller: no agenda behind critical Cuomo audits

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says there’s no politics involved in some critical audits done this year on some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs.";s:

New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said there is no political agenda behind a series of audits critical of some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs. The democrat said the auditors in his department are simply calling shots as they see them.

Audits releases this summer noted problems in a couple of programs, including the Recharge New York Program, which is supposed to provide power at discounted rates to certain businesses and nonprofits. And an audit found fault with some of the handling of the Excelsior Jobs program, which offers tax breaks to eligible companies. The comptroller’s office has also criticized advertising money spent on the governor’s Start-Up New York Program.

The audits have drawn fire from Cuomo, who has publicly dismissed them as subjective. But DiNapoli said the goal of the audits is transparency, done in the spirit of improving government operations.

"Our job is to provide accountability and transparency with our audits," DiNapoli said. "That’s what we do. Our auditors are professional people. They have standards they have to adhere to. So when they do a report and make recommendations, it’s done in the spirit of trying to improve government operations to do a better job in the interest of the taxpayer money that’s involved.” 

DiNapoli also notes that a change in state law two years ago makes it more difficult for his office to audit some of the projects that have sprung out of the governor’s economic development plans. Some of those projects, including the Buffalo Billion, are also under investigation by federal prosecutors.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.