A state audit report issued Monday faults a nonprofit arm of the State University of New York system for hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper or inadequately documented spending, according to The New York Times and the Hudson Valley daily The Journal News.
The probe by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office found that a former SUNY Research Foundation senior official charged more than $130,000 in personal purchases, including hockey tickets, iPhones, and luxury chocolates, to a foundation credit card. In addition, the organization paid more than $13,000 for beverages for receptions hosted by the office of Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and nearly $10,000 for her membership at a private club in Albany.
The comptroller also criticized the foundation’s quick, no-bid hiring of a prominent New York law firm in 2009 to investigate alleged recruiting violations and player misconduct on the SUNY Binghamton men’s basketball team.
The foundation raises private, state, and federal funds to support research and development at the 64 SUNY campuses. Mr. DiNapoli said lax oversight allowed foundation officials to “cheat taxpayers, skirt state laws, and violate the foundation’s own policies.”
Ms. Zimpher, the chancellor, termed the audit “an opportunity to acknowledge past problems” at the foundation and said it had tightened its policies in many of the areas highlighted by the comptroller.