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January 26, 2009

DiNapoli: Audit Finds Improper Practices by Former
Racing and Wagering Executive Director

Executive Director Failed to Take Time Off from Racing and Wagering Board
While Performing Work for Olympic Regional Development Authority

The former executive director of the Racing and Wagering Board failed to take time off from his executive director job when he performed legal work for the Olympic Regional Development Authority, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“While a state employee can provide services to two different state entities, getting paid state taxpayer dollars to perform two jobs at the same time is unacceptable,” DiNapoli said. “The state cannot afford this kind of duplicity.”

Auditors reviewed the time records of the Racing and Wagering Board’s executive director, John Cansdale, and found that he did not use any leave accruals on five days that ORDA records showed Cansdale attended ORDA meetings in locations that were two to three hours away from his Racing and Wagering Board office in Schenectady.

In December, DiNapoli’s office released an audit that found ORDA incorrectly reported Cansdale as an employee to the New York State and Local Retirement System when he actually served as an independent contractor providing legal counsel to ORDA. During this audit, auditors determined an audit of Cansdale’s time at the board was warranted.

The audit, which covered June 2006 through August 2008, noted that the ORDA meetings were held in Lake Placid, Wilmington and North Creek, all in New York state, and occurred between October 5, 2006 and March 18, 2008.

Auditors identified an additional 205 days when Cansdale provided services to both the board and ORDA. Cansdale indicated to auditors that he did not normally charge leave time at the board when he provided services to ORDA, even when he traveled to Lake Placid.

Auditors also found that Cansdale used his board-provided car to travel to the ORDA meetings without Cansdale or ORDA reimbursing the board for the use of the vehicle on other-than-board business.

Auditors also discovered Cansdale used sick time to attend an ORDA meeting on July 15, 2008, which is not an appropriate use of sick time. Auditors found 17 additional days when Cansdale used sick time and reported performing work for ORDA.

DiNapoli’s office recommends that board officials:

  • recover inappropriate salary payments made to Cansdale on the five days he attended ORDA meetings and the one day he inappropriately used sick time;
  • investigate the circumstances on 205 other days when Cansdale provided services to both the board and ORDA; and
  • discontinue allowing Cansdale to use the board-assigned vehicle to pursue outside activities and ensure that all personal use of the vehicle is reported as additional compensation.

The board’s response is included in the audit.

Click here for a copy of the audit.


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