BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The New York State Comptroller says it's simply a coincidence that he announced an audit of "Start-Up NY" one day after an article, critical of the economic program, was published.
Tom DiNapoli was in Buffalo on Friday for a re-election rally. We asked him there about the Gannett Albany article that called out the Cuomo administration over a lack of transparency over how the money was spent.
DiNapoli announced the audit a day later but says the audit was underway before that.
"The reality is we already had commenced an audit," he said. "As part of our usual work, we look at programs, some of long-standing, some newer programs, so there really weren't so much red flags as it is just part of the assessment our auditors always make about programs they want to take a look at. This had already been in the pipeline."
The part of the campaign being audited is its "Open for Business" advertisements, which promote Cuomo's initiative of tax-free zones for small businesses.
According to the Gannett Albany Bureau, $200 million dollars have gone into those over the past four years.
Freedom of Information requests for the use of taxpayer money on the program have been repeatedly denied.