New York Racing Association

Capital Program Operations and Selected Contract Award Practices

The New York Racing Association is a not-for-profit organization that is franchised by New York State to operate the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks. Before 1995, capital improvements at these tracks were financed by the New York State Thoroughbred Racing Capital Investment Fund, which monitored the improvements. As a result of a statutory change in 1995, the Association could begin financing capital improvements at the tracks without the involvement of the Fund. In 1996, Fund officials claimed that the capital improvements financed by the Association involved questionable contract awards and lax contract monitoring practices. These concerns were relayed to the State Attorney General's Office, which asked the State Comptroller's Office to participate with it in a joint review of capital improvements at the Association's racetracks.

In this joint review, we evaluated the Association's capital planning, contract award and contract monitoring procedures, and identified serious weaknesses in these procedures. As a result of these weaknesses, some of the Association's capital projects may not have been necessary, some contracts may have been awarded on the basis of favoritism, and contractors can be paid for work that has not been done. We recommend several improvements in Association procedures relating to capital projects.

For a complete copy of Report 96-J-89 click here.