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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

October 3, 2013, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Binghamton Parks & Rec Director Allegedly Stole Nearly $108,000

The director of Binghamton’s Parks and Recreation Department pocketed nearly $108,000 in taxpayer funds and allegedly used the cash to pay for his mortgage, summer rental, car lease, and loans to his sons, according to an audit by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

"This persistent pilfering of taxpayer dollars could have been avoided,” Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “This case points out the importance of oversight and control.”

DiNapoli’s auditors found that Parks and Recreation Director John Whalen, a 39-year city employee, skimmed cash fees collected by the city for youth sponsorships, uniforms, softball and basketball. The fee money was deposited into an unsupervised account with bank statements mailed to Whalen’s home.

The alleged thefts occurred between 2007 and 2012. The Broome County District Attorney’s office in April charged Whalen with grand larceny in the second degree. The case is pending in Broome County Court. The city has since closed the Recreation Department’s unsupervised bank account and implemented stricter controls.

According to DiNapoli’s audit, Whalen’s illegitimate spending included:

  • $19,550 in payments or wire transfers to Whalen’s sons or their student loan companies;
  • $17,900 to Whalen’s mortgage company; and
  • $10,400 in payments to personal vendors for credit cards, cell phone, insurance, gas and flowers.

For a copy of the audit, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/cities/2013/binghamton.pdf

For access to state and local government spending and nearly 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

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