NY Comptroller Cites Problems At SUNY Foundation

Ann McClure's picture

New York's state comptroller cites conflicts of interest, overpayments of contracts that weren't competitively bid and misuse of credit cards that paid for world travel and even hockey tickets and groceries as proof that the State University of New York Research Foundation needs far more oversight. "For too long, SUNY Research Foundation employees took advantage of lax oversight to cheat taxpayers, skirt state laws and violate the foundation's own policies," Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a report released Monday and based on a state audit. "The Research Foundation needs to vastly improve its internal controls, budgetary oversight, and ensure compliance with all relevant laws and policies." The spending included nearly $28,000 in "questionable" charges to Chancellor Nancy Zimpher's account, including a $9,000 club membership and alcohol at receptions, according to the report. The spending DiNapoli calls an abuse of taxpayers' money comes as SUNY campuses are digging out of years of budget cuts from Albany that prompted a decision by the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase tuition annually for five years. They call it a "rational tuition plan" that should avoid the occasional spikes in tuition.

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