Third time's a charm?
by Stephen Geffon
Jul 27, 2011 | 2498 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will be the subject of yet another audit by the state comptroller’s office. This will be the third audit of the agency since 2008.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said he wants to take another look at NYRA’s books to determine whether it has appropriately followed his recommendations from two earlier audits that called for significant cost reductions, including salaries and consultant fees.

“NYRA has a history of overspending,” DiNapoli said. “I want to ensure that this is one tradition that doesn’t continue.”

Last year, DiNapoli's office audited NYRA and issued nine recommendations to improve its finances.

In June, the state’s Franchise Oversight Board criticized NYRA’s proposed budget, which included a more than five percent hike in salaries, with some executives making between $255,000 and $460,000.

NYRA, according to its 2011 budget, expects to see an $11 million deficit this year after a $17 million operating deficit last year. NYRA has not posted a profit since 2000.

The agency is counting heavily on new gaming revenues from the Aqueduct casino in South Ozone Park, slated to open on October 1, to become profitable again. NYRA is expected to receive at least $25 million annually for operating costs and capital improvement projects from thousand of video lottery terminals that will be installed.

The state Inspector General is also reviewing NYRA’s books.

“Significant issues have been raised,” said John Milgrim, a spokesman for Inspector General Ellen Biben. “This office will be seeking the answers.”
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