The Comptroller claims that in early 2003, the Authority entered into a contract with a consulting firm, which then sub-contracted part of the work to another company, which was owned by Stanwix. At the time, though he was retired, the Comptroller concludes Stanwix was still being paid, presenting a conflict of interest.
It has turned the findings of the audit over to Monroe County District Attorney Mike Green who confirms for WROC TV's News 8 Now that he will now conduct an investigation to determine whether any laws were broken.
"Something improper happened with this contract, (and) it is apparent someone is not telling the truth", said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli in a statement released by his office. He's referring to allegations by his office that Stanwix denied being at a meeting where the contract was approved or that he was involved in it, when minutes of the meeting list him as having been present. That is something which was also sworn to by three other Water Authority employees who were present.
The Water Authority announced today that Stanwix has already reimbursed it $144,000, for this and other discrepancies. It also reassured ratepayers it now has controls in place to avoid a recurrence of such incidents.
"You can't turn back the clock," said the current Water Authority Director Ed Marianetti. "We just want to move on from here and re-gain the confidence of our rate payers.
The Water Authority also released the findings of a report by Special Counsel it hired to determine if it should sue Stanwix for nearly $300,000 in pay and benefits. The team of lawyers determined Stanwix and other top Authority officials did not receive those benefits illegally and that any attempts to sue those individuals would not be justifiable or successful.
In concluding further that the payments, while seen by some as generous, were legitimate, the Special Counsel also criticized the Comptroller's Office, inferring it was sloppy in its intiital audit which raised the issue and many eyebrows in and around Monroe County.
That crticism didn't sit well with the Comptroller's Office, which late today issued another statement declaring , "...these payments were innappropriate. The Authority Management enriched themselves at ratepayer expense, and this is wrong."
Click on the video icon, to see a complete wrap up of today's developments.