Comptroller Audit Finds Monroe County Taxpayers Got a Bad Deal
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State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli calls a contract with a Local Development Corporation a bad deal for Monroe County taxpayers. He added that officials' claims to save money, is instead saddling taxpayers with unnecessary costs for the next two decades.
The audit involves Navitech, a firm headed by Stephen Gleason, the county's former COO. The report finds that Navitech had inside information that other's bidding for the county's communications and security services didn't have, giving it an unfair advantage.
The audit also found Monroe County will pay a minimum of more than $20 million more than the value of the systems and services received through the Navitech contract.
More than $30 million will be paid in administrative and management fees that have already benefited individuals with ties to county government. Vender fees of more than $12 million will not be passed on to the county.
The county inappropriately issued five-and-a-half million dollars in debt to pay for equipment replacement and enhancements that should have been paid for by the LDC.
And taxpayers are overpaying for public safety and security systems and services, and will continue to do so over the 20-year life of the $212 million contract.
County Executive Maggie Brooks was not available for comment. The county did release a statement through its communications department.
It says, in part, "Mr. DiNapoli's final report contains no new information. The county has saved $10 million dollars while best equipping first responders. Mr. DiNapoli has failed to understand these savings despite multiple explanations from field experts."
Brooks is challenging Congresswoman Louise Slaughter in the newly formed 25th Congressional District. Slaughter's campaign has centered around corruption in the Brooks Administration. The Fair Elections Committee ruled that a Slaughter ad highlighting the cost of county corruption to taxpayers violated the pledge both candidates signed.
In a statement, Congresswoman Slaughter said, "this final State Comptroller audit confirms everything we've been saying about Maggie Brooks' corruption. When you rig a bid so a campaign contributor can score a contract worth hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, that's a scandal."
The Comptroller said Brooks and the County Legislature have the responsibility to initiate corrective action and have 90 days to respond.