NY to audit agency running former Olympic venues

NY comptroller plans full audit of agency operating former Olympic venues after operating loss

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is launching a full audit of the state authority that operates former Olympic venues in Lake Placid and other ski areas after finding persistent financial issues, including a nearly $17 million operating loss last year.

The comptroller's office also faulted the Olympic Regional Development Authority for relying on a line of credit up to $7 million from a private bank to fill periodic funding shortfalls.

"ORDA's venues have long been an essential part of the North Country economy, which heightens the need to ensure its stability and accountability to the public," DiNapoli said Wednesday. "We will examine selected financial management practices related to payroll, procurement and other areas."

The authority did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

ORDA was created to operate the venues after the 1980 winter games and now runs the ski areas at Whiteface Mountain and Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks, at Belleayre Mountain in the Catskills and the former Olympic ski jump and sports complex at Lake Placid. It also hosts national and international sporting events.

Its revenue comes mainly from fees for skiing, skating and other sports activities. ORDA spent $40.4 million and had $39.7 million in revenues, including the state and local financial contributions in its last reported fiscal year, according to the comptroller's office. The Belleayre operation was transferred last year to ORDA from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

According to the comptroller's office, New York has added more than 1,000 state and local public authorities since the creation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1921. Collectively, they employ more than 150,000 people, spend more than $50 billion annually and have nearly $250 billion in outstanding debt.

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