August 7, 2012
DiNapoli and HUD Uncover Financial Abuses by Former Troy Housing Authority Officials
One Official Inappropriately Paid $207,000 While Collecting Pension
The retired comptroller of the Troy Housing Authority (THA) took home $207,000 in inappropriate payments while collecting a public pension in apparent violation of state law, among other financial problems, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG).
Roger Rosenthal, of Latham and Florida, returned to work as “Acting Comptroller” at THA while collecting an annual New York state pension of approximately $47,000, and allegedly submitted falsified documents to avoid legal restrictions on “double-dipping,” or collecting a public pension while working for a public employer.
The Comptroller’s office and HUD-OIG referred the report to the New York State Attorney General for appropriate action.
“These public officials abused their positions to enrich themselves,” DiNapoli said. “My office will continue to protect taxpayers and the integrity of the retirement system. I will take strong action against those who seek to manipulate the rules for their own financial advantage. Thanks to our Investigations Unit working jointly with the HUD Inspector General, we were able to reveal this scam and work to recoup these ill-gotten gains.”
“When the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development learns of potentially corrupt, greedy behavior such as that allegedly perpetrated by former Troy Housing Authority officials, Roger Rosenthal and William Meissner, particularly in today’s unyielding economic environment, the Office of Inspector General will vigorously pursue any and all actions to maintain the integrity of our programs and to ensure that departmental and public housing funds are distributed in a proper manner,” said Cary A. Rubenstein, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, NY/NJ Regional Office.
The joint investigation was carried out with the full support of the current THA administration and uncovered several misdeeds by Rosenthal and his former THA executive secretary, William Meissner.
Among the findings:
The THA, which provides affordable housing in Troy, N.Y., is run by a seven-member board and supervised by its Executive Secretary.
DiNapoli encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud, corruption or abuse of taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Investigations Unit, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.
For a copy of the report visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/aug12/tha_report_082012.pdf.