Comptroller audits fault OTB

Phil Gambini

Investigative Post

Oct 23, 2021

Officials at Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. improperly helped themselves to tickets for sporting events and concerts, and CEO Henry Wojtaszek failed to account for personal use of his agency-assigned car, according to a pair of audits published Thursday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The audits, which confirm reporting by Investigative Post over the last three years, criticize officials at the state-created public authority for deficient oversight.

“The Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation needs to clean up its operations,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement accompanying the release of the audits.

“Revenues from the OTB are supposed to go to participating municipalities, not to give board members and employees generous perks and other benefits.”

The audits do not address a controversial health, dental and vision insurance benefit package for OTB officers. However, in a letter obtained by Investigative Post, an attorney for the state Comptroller, Nelson Sheingold, said OTB has continued to provide the perk to its board members despite “clear admonitions from our office that this practice is impermissible.” Now, the matter has been referred to the New York State Attorney General’s Taxpayer Protection Bureau “for appropriate action,” the letter said.