Clashing Over an Audit
October 6th, 2009

First there was the Yankees, then the Water Board, followed by the city’s high school graduation rates.

And now it’s the Department of Finance.

In ramping up his campaign, mayoral candidate and Comptroller William Thompson has used his office (and its auditing power) more and more to criticize the Bloomberg administration. Today was no different.

This morning, the comptroller released a report alleging the Department of Finance mismanaged the city’s 421-a program — a tax incentive program meant to spur housing — effectively missing out on close to $10 million in revenue. According to the audit, the department “incorrectly calculated the taxable assessed value” of 48 out of 50 properties the office examined, which could eventually grow to a loss of more than $130 million.

“The Department of Finance must immediately correct these inaccuracies so the city does not allow at least $130 million to slip through its fingers, Thompson said in a press release. The citys resistance to rectifying this represents financial hypocrisy at its worst; on the one hand claiming that agencies must tighten their belts amid the lingering recession while permitting a faulty process that costs taxpayers, to continue.

The administration denies this, saying the report is inaccurate.

In an e-mailed statement, Department of Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel said the following: “This audit gets the facts wrong and misleads the public. Finance met with the auditors and responded in good faith to their preliminary findings, offering point-by-point corrections. Unfortunately, they failed to fix their errors or justify their numbers in the final audit. In some cases, the auditors simply moved their preliminary justifications into a catch-all category that offers no specific explanations, data, or documentation to substantiate their claims.”

A letter provided by the finance department, which goes through the alleged errors in the new audit, cites a July 9th “exit conference.”

The comptroller’s office says the finance department did not meet with them.

By on October 6, 2009, 5:09 pm
In category: City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,nextNY,Public Finance | Comments Off on Clashing Over an Audit

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