Department of Health
Western Regional Emergency Medical System, Inc. Grant Expenditures Western Regional Emergency Medical System, Inc. (WREMS) is one of 16 regional organizations supporting emergency medical services in New York State. WREMS receives an annual grant from the Department of Health to fund its activities. We audited grant expenditures made by WREMS and identified a number of questionable transactions.
In particular, we questioned the appropriateness of payments made by WREMS for leased office space. The space was owned by a not-for-profit corporation (Crossroads) that was closely associated with WREMS. Crossroads had no employees and no telephone number, and appeared to have been engaged in no business activities outside of buying the building and leasing it to WREMS in 2001. WREMS paid Crossroads $25,000 a year in rent and a one-time fee of $45,000 to keep the rent constant over the 15-year term of the lease. WREMS also loaned Crossroads $47,198 to cover the costs of renovating the office space (the loan was not repaid). According to the terms of its State grant, if WREMS itself had purchased the building with grant funds, the building would have belonged to the State. It thus appears WREMS may have used Crossroads as a front to retain ownership of the building and realize any profits from the sale and rental of the building. We also determined that certain other grant expenditures made by WREMS were either inadequately documented, excessive or not consistent with the purpose of the grant.
We recommended the Department recover grant funds from WREMS and determine whether the building purchased by Crossroads should rightfully be claimed as State property. In addition, we referred our findings to the Charities Bureau of the State Attorney Generalís Office for further investigation.
For a complete copy of Report 2005-S-65 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.