Western Regional OTB Resolution Invites State Audit

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By: Tony Farina

Already subject to regular audits by the state but under pressure from Niagara County and Schuyler County on its financial operations, the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation is scheduled to approve a resolution this week (Wednesday, May 23) requesting an audit by the state comptroller.

The resolution refers to recent statements that have been made publicly relating to the financial operations of the public benefit corporation and requests the state comptroller’s office to conduct an audit “to demonstrate WROTB’s strong financial operations and growth.”

According to the resolution, the audit request is intended as a reaffirmation of the board’s commitment to transparency.  WROTB, which is based at Batavia Downs, is owned by 15 counties, including Niagara, and two cities, Buffalo and Rochester.

The resolution states in part that since its inception, “Western OTB has generated over $231 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of the those participating municipalities, and has created hundreds of jobs in the Western New York Community.”  

The resolution also notes that past audits of WROTB finances by the state comptroller “have not revealed any irregularities or improprieties,” and that the corporation will continue to operate at the highest levels of transparency, including full compliance with the state comptroller’s office.

Henry Wojtaszek, the president and CEO of WROTB, refers to recent media reports on the corporation’s financial promotional operations in a letter to the state comptroller and says the commitment to transparency is the focus of the resolution requesting an additional audit.

In his letter to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Wojtaszek notes that in addition to periodic audits conducted by the state, the public benefit corporation also employs both internal and external auditors to review the corporation’s finances on a regular and ongoing basis.

“Past audits of our finances have not revealed any irregularities or improprieties, something we are very proud of,” said Wojtaszek in his letter to DiNapoli.

Earlier this month, the Niagara County Legislature defeated a resolution calling for an audit of WROTB, spurred in part by complaints of promotional improprieties leveled by former State Sen. George Maziarz.

Last week, the Schuyler County Legislature voted to ask the state comptroller to conduct an audit of OTB.

It would appear that Wojtaszek and WROTB have countered that political pressure by inviting a state audit of their finances by Comptroller DiNapoli. 

 

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