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January 13, 2010

DiNapoli: NYRA Agrees to Turn Over Financial Records

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that the New York Racing Association (NYRA) will comply with his subpoenas and turn over financial records.

DiNapoli issued subpoenas to NYRA in December after it asserted that the State Comptroller had no oversight authority in its affairs and refused to provide state auditors with access to financial records.

“In 2008, taxpayers paid for a second chance for NYRA,” DiNapoli said. “NYRA then turned around and thumbed its nose at those same taxpayers and refused to open its books to my auditors. It’s our job to protect taxpayer dollars. Fortunately, NYRA had a change of heart in response to my subpoenas. New Yorkers have a right to know what NYRA’s up to, and my audit will let them know.”

In accordance with state legislation enacted in 2008, NYRA was reconstituted as a not-for-profit corporation in order to gain a new 25-year franchise to operate the state’s thoroughbred racetracks. Under the franchise agreement between NYRA and the state, state statutes governing NYRA as well language in the State Constitution, DiNapoli has the authority to examine the books and accounts of NYRA relating to its financial operations as well as the annual financial statements and yearly audits of its outside auditors.

Among the matters DiNapoli’s audit will examine are the millions of dollars in state payments made to NYRA over the past couple years and monies owed the state by NYRA.

To enable NYRA’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2008, the state made a direct payment to NYRA of at least $105 million. Further, pursuant to the 2008 legislation, the state has directed 14 percent to 16 percent of revenues from Aqueduct video lottery terminals, once they are operational, to help NYRA fund its operations.

Click here for NYRA's letter.



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