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Politics and Government

DiNapoli pleased to have authority back, auditing NY’s economic development contracts

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Tom Magnarelli
/
WRVO Public Media
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, right, at the state fair.

A memo of understanding between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli restores the comptroller’s pre-audit review authority over some of the state’s economic development contracts. DiNapoli also wants the state legislature to memorialize the agreement. 

The audit authority of economic development contracts with SUNY, CUNY and the Office of General Services, were taken away from the comptroller by the state legislature in 2011, at the request of Cuomo, who said it slowed the process. Since then, bid-rigging and bribery scandals over projects like the Buffalo Billion initiative and the film hub in Syracuse, have found former aides and associates of Cuomo guilty of corruption. Now, getting some of those powers back, DiNapoli said while he’s pleased an agreement was reached with the governor, he was hoping the state legislatiure would restore those powers.

“We’re going to look when contracts come in, to make sure it makes sense," DiNapoli said. "We didn’t get back everything that was taken away, but I feel we got back enough for us to be more proactive at looking at these contracts, many of which will involve economic development.”

The agreement was made in mid-August, so DiNapoli said he doesn’t have a list of contracts that have come into his office yet. He said there needs to be a further memo of agreement with SUNY over looking at the Research Foundation funding.

“If that doesn’t happen in a short time frame, the governor will propose legislatively that that be done," DiNapoli said. "But I’m optimistic, that will get done without that.”

DiNapoli said he’s also proposing more reforms beyond the scope of the current agreement, which would require legislative change.