NYS Comptroller: County Circumvented the Law; Brooks Expands Improper Use of LDCs
June 1, 2012 - 4:00am
Rochester, NY – Today, following release of a New York State Comptroller Audit, the Slaughter campaign responded to Maggie Brooks’ record of driving Monroe County into debt and improperly using Local Development Corporations (LDCs) to distort the County’s finances and enrich political supporters. The County is currently facing more than $389 million worth of on-the-books debt [Page 470: http://tinyurl.com/c7kv5r8].
"Maggie Brooks has driven Monroe County into $389 million worth of debt,” said Campaign Manager Liam Fitzsimmons. “Rather than tell local taxpayers the truth, Maggie Brooks has expanded the improper use of Local Development Corporations to hide hundreds of millions of dollars worth of additional debt and provide her campaign donors and political allies with jobs. Now, Maggie Brooks wants to bring this abysmal and self-serving record to Washington."
The state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli charged in an audit that the county’s contract with Upstate Telecommunications Corp., an LDC, cost taxpayers $8 million more than necessary and violated county law. Auditors also raised questions about the fairness of the bidding process for the contract, noting that individuals with close ties to county government were involved with the creation of Upstate Telecommunications and the deputy county executive at the time, Richard Mackey, later became a paid consultant to the corporation. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 10/12/11] Mackey has given at least $13,000 in political contributions to Brooks’ campaigns. [New York Board of Elections, Campaign Finance Filings]
Maggie Brooks has embraced LDCs as a political tool and increased their number. The Democrat and Chronicle reported,“Local development corporations, or LDCs, are nonprofit organizations, in some cases legal charities, created ostensibly for economic development purposes. But as they have proliferated in recent years, they have come under greater scrutiny by state officials and watchdog groups as vehicles for local governments to skirt procurement and transparency laws and take debt off their books.” [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 9/18/11]