Rochester, N.Y. - A state audit claims there is a pattern of abuse among Monroe County local development corporations.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's audit found that Monroe County created Monroe Newpower Corporation in 2002 to purchase the county's aging coal-burning plant for $7 million without getting it appraised.
The state said Monroe Newpower, known as a LDC, used the $7 million to cover operating expenses for the county instead and then later secured $33 million in bonds that taxpayers will have to pay for over 32 years.
In a statement, DiNapoli said "Monroe County used a shadow entity it created to cover daily operating expenses. This backdoor borrowing loaded taxpayers with debt for three decades. This marks the second time we’ve seen Monroe County misuse LDCs to fund county operations. This is clearly not what LDCs are intended for and it needs reform."
The Comptroller and State Attorney General are also investigating two other Monroe County LDCs for a $224 million upgrade to the county's emergency management system.
DiNapoli's audit recommend that Monroe County do three things: stop using LDCs to issue debt to finance operating expenses, allow vendors adequate time to respond to requests for proposals and document their recommendation prior to awarding contracts, and authorize a new request for proposal process if material changes are made to the county’s original request.
Monroe County plans to respond to the audit this afternoon.