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‘Inappropriate and questionable spending’ at IDA

A state review of the Chautauqua County IDA found more than $250,000 of problematic spending due to poor accounting and lax oversight.

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. — A state review of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has found more than $250,000 of “inappropriate and questionable discretionary spending,” including costly holiday parties and membership to a golf club.

Among other issues, the draft review by the Authorities Budget Office obtained by Investigative Post found:

  • The IDA’s chief financial officer, Richard Dixon, was reimbursed $30,600 for use of his personal vehicle and $18,429 for a membership and other expenses at a local golf club.
  • CEO Mark Geise, Dixon and other staff used IDA credit cards to pay for $26,000 in “inappropriate meal purchases.”
  • The agency made more than $100,000 in donations and sponsorships, described as “inappropriate and questionable expenses.”
  • The IDA created a special committee to “fast-track” applications for subsidies, a setup that amounted to an “abdication of the board’s fiduciary duty.” The Transaction Committee allowed a company seeking subsidies to appear before the IDA board only once, when typically a board must vote twice on all deals.
  • The IDA board went into executive session during 28 out of 32 meetings, but failed to cite a reason why, in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law.

Read the full story from our partners at Investigative Post.

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