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NYS Comptroller says his office was cut out of Buffalo Billion oversight

New York Comptroller State Thomas DiNapoli is weighing in on bid-rigging allegations related to Governor Andrew Cuomo's economic development programs. The Comptroller, who says his office was cut out of the process,  is urging stronger oversight.

DiNapoli says more robust scrutiny of the way public money was spent might have prevented the alleged acts from occurring.

“When you use these non-profits, it’s off the books, you really don’t know how the money is being spent," DiNapoli said. "Obviously, the indications indicate people took advantage of that. I’d like more of a process, similar to what we do for regular state agencies where there’s adequate review, adequate transparency. That’s what was lacking in this case.”

DiNapoli says his office could help bring back accountability to some of these projects.

“I think our office is uniquely set up to provide that kind of oversight and again, because of the way they managed this, we were cut out of that process,” DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli would like to see the governor and state legislature consider expanding the role of the comptroller's office to help with oversight of the economic development projects, starting with the comptroller’s authority to review SUNY construction contracts.

Former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros and executives at prominent development firms are charged in the case, which probed alleged bid rigging and bribery in the Buffalo Billion and other upstate economic development initiatives. Attorneys for the men say their clients are innocent.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.