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January 25, 2013

Officers of Albany Nanotech Complex Safeguarding Public Funds

Fuller Road Management Corp., the not for profit corporation that runs the State University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, is fulfilling its duties to support and provide appropriate internal controls over operations and activities, and promoted an ethical business climate at the multi-billion dollar facility, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“The College’s nanotechnology research facilities receive billions of dollars from the state and private companies from across the globe,” DiNapoli said. “FRMC officers, directors and committee members have done well to make sure taxpayer and private dollars are being safeguarded and being spent appropriately.”

DiNapoli’s auditors found one exception to an otherwise strong internal control environment. Two Board Directors also serve on the Board of First Niagara Financial Group, which was paid more than $100,000 by FRMC for transaction fees. This potential conflict of interest and the related transaction fees were not initially disclosed as required on FRMC’s 2010 Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Both directors properly disclosed their relationship with First Niagara on the FRMC Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement.

After auditors brought the omission on the IRS form to the attention of FRMC officials, the corporation submitted a revised IRS 990 with the required disclosures. FRMC officials have now hired a new independent auditor to help ensure that in the future there will be full compliance with regulatory reporting requirements.

The NanoTech Complex is dedicated to nanotechnology research, development and prototyping, as well as education. The complex includes five buildings with more than 800,000 square feet of office, laboratory and classroom space, including 80,000 square feet of cleanroom facilities. Private and public investment in the complex to date totals nearly $14 billion.

DiNapoli’s auditors recommended FRMC:

  • Ensure its officers, directors and committee members properly disclose all pertinent business relationships they have with the FRMC and any corresponding financial transactions as required by applicable law, rule, and regulation; and
  • Continue to maintain the Accounting Procedures Manual.

For a copy of the report visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093013/12s26.pdf

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