Comptroller's audit shows misuse of SUNY funds
Updated: Wednesday, March 20 2013, 12:56 PM EDT
ALBANY -- Federal grant money that was supposed to be used for overhead costs in the SUNY
system was misused and spent on personal items, according to an audit from the
State Comptroller's Office.
Edgar Turkle, former Operations Manager at
the Research Foundation of SUNY, was accused of using the Federal money to buy
Buffalo Sabres hockey tickets, throw a birthday party for his wife and take his
family on a trip to Asia. In all Turkle is accused of using $130,887 for
personal expenses, the report stated. All the transactions were approved by
people who worked under Turkle.
"I have never seen subordinates approving
the travel vouchers of their superior in all of my years of working as an
auditor," said Assistant Comptroller Jerry Barber. "It is highly unusual and
certainly speaks to a very lacking control of the environment."
named in the audit was the SUNY Chancellor who had access to the "Chancellor's
Account". That account was questioned after $13,172 was used to purchase
alcoholic beverages. In all $27,968 of the Chancellor's
Account was probed by the Comptroller's office.
"That is an
interesting question," Barber said when asked if SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
is to blame. "It is the Chancellor's account. We did not cite anything illegal
from the expenditures of it but we questioned if these monies used as over head
should be used in this manner."
A spokesman for the Chancellor said Monday all the money used from the account was for
legitimate and appropriate use. An example, of an expense used, was a reception
for the SUNY board that involved food and beverages.