New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following audits and reports were issued during the week ending December 17, 2016
By state law, the Comptroller’s office is responsible for reviewing and approving state agency contracts above $50,000 and certain contracts over $1 million for state public authorities. The Comptroller’s independent oversight helps ensure that the process is fair and gets the best value for taxpayer dollars. In 2015, the Comptroller’s office reviewed 21,381 contract transactions totaling $169.2 billion.
In 2015, state agencies issued over $6.8 billion in contracts without Comptroller review.
DiNapoli’s comprehensive package of reforms increases independent oversight of contracts, prohibits the state from using state-affiliated not-for-profits to do state business, makes procurement requirements uniform, and toughens ethics and transparency rules. Specific proposals include:
• Restore the Comptroller’s independent oversight for SUNY, CUNY and OGS centralized contracts. Recent allegations show widespread weaknesses in SUNY’s procurement process and lax oversight of its affiliated not-for-profits. Restoring systemic checks and balances taken away from the Comptroller can help prevent future abuses and ensure that everyone is following the same rules.
In early November, 2016, DiNapoli took administrative actions related to the bid-rigging and fraud scandal. He put the Empire State Development Corp. (ESD) on notice that any SUNY Polytechnic Institute contracts transferred or assigned to ESD must be submitted to his office for review. He made a series of recommendations to improve the payment process for economic development projects to help prevent against fraud and address the long delays that have occurred with payments made by ESD for projects. He lowered the threshold requirements for review of contracts from $250,000 to $50,000 for SUNY Poly’s contracts and put public authorities on notice of his plan to watch them closely.
As government contracting has grown in size, scope and complexity, the Comptroller’s oversight, which was established more than 100 years ago, has become more important than ever. While DiNapoli’s office legally has 90 days to review contracts, on the average the decision to approve or reject a proposed contract is issued within nine days. The Comptroller's office is also committed to a high level of transparency and releases a monthly press release disclosing major state contracts and spending approved by his office. It also issues a detailed annual report, “State Contracts by the Numbers,” to inform the public and policymakers of actions taken.
Read DiNapoli’s letter to executive and lawmakers, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/economic/cuomo_procurement_legislation.pdf
Read the bill memo, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/legislation/2015-16/oscb_nyspia_memo.pdf
Read “State Contracts by the Numbers,” or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/economic/state_contracts_2016.pdf
In May 2016, Kanas was arrested on a warrant by the city of Tamarac Road Patrol and Broward County Sherriff’s in Florida. After being brought to Albany County, New York to face these charges, in June 2016, Kanas pleaded guilty before Honorable Thomas A. Breslin in Albany Supreme Court. Today, she was sentenced to 6 months incarceration and 5 years of probation, $45,000 in restitution to New York State, and signed a confession of judgment for the remaining amount stolen of $103,092.24.
The investigation was conducted by the New York State Comptroller’s Division of Investigations and the Attorney General. This case is the latest joint investigation under the Operation Integrity partnership of the Attorney General and Comptroller, which to date has resulted in dozens of convictions and more than $11 million in restitution. Attorney General Schneiderman and Comptroller DiNapoli thank the city of Tamarac Road Patrol and Broward County Sheriff’s in Florida for their assistance.
The Comptroller’s investigation was conducted by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations, working with the New York State and Local Retirement System.
The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Mark Spencer, Investigator Casey Quinlan and Deputy Chief Antoine Karam. Forensic accounting was performed by Associate Forensic Auditor Meaghan Scovello. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella. The Forensic Audit Section is led by Chief Auditor Edward J. Keegan.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Philip V. Apruzzese of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton.
An initial audit issued in June 2015 found DOH’s waiver practices did not effectively ensure that safety and structural risks related to physical plant standards at health care facilities were appropriately addressed. In a follow-up report, auditors determined DOH officials have made significant progress in addressing the problems identified in the initial audit. The initial report’s four recommendations were all implemented.
Department of Health: Medicaid Overpayments for Certain Medicare Part C Claims (Follow-Up) (2016-F-18)
An initial audit issued in December 2014 found that Medicaid overpaid a physical therapist $146,225 for 3,837 claims that were submitted to the Medicaid program with incorrect Medicare payment information. In addition, the audit questioned the propriety of 5,634 claims totaling $158,990 because the therapist submitted claims using his National Provider Identifier for services that were rendered by other clinicians.
In a follow-up report, auditors found DOH officials made some progress implementing the recommendations made in the initial audit report. Those efforts included certain steps to recover $116,298 in overpayments. However, at the time auditors completed follow-up fieldwork, none of the overpayments were actually recovered and additional actions were still needed.
An initial audit report issued in August 2015 concluded that, on an overall basis, the DMV consistently accounted for and reported all traffic ticket surcharge revenue. However, auditors identified certain areas where the DMV could make greater use of the data it maintains to better manage and improve its operations. In a follow-up report, auditors found DMV officials have made progress in implementing the recommendations identified in the initial report. However, additional improvements are still needed.