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Western Regional OTB to be audited by State Comptroller's Office

The New York State Comptroller's Office announced Friday that it will audit the internal financial controls of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., a probe that could last a year or more.

On May 23, the WROTB board asked for an audit, in the wake of allegations of misuse of public funds.

In April, the FBI began a probe of potential cronyism in contracts given to firms headed by men with political connections to WROTB executives.

Last year, former State Sen. George D. Maziarz accused WROTB leaders of giving Buffalo Bills and Sabres tickets to friends and family. The Buffalo News and other media have obtained the contracts for suite purchases, but WROTB has refused to disclose who got the tickets, saying only that they go to high rollers at Batavia Downs Gaming, owned by Western OTB.

"Questions have been raised about the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. that warrant a deeper look," Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said, adding that WROTB "is accountable to taxpayers and must operate with transparency and under specific rules."

"We  requested this routine audit in May and, regardless of whether our letter was the impetus for the comptroller’s review, we are certainly looking forward to fully cooperating with them," said Henry F. Wojtaszek, WROTB president and CEO.

"We plan to appoint our chief financial officer as our point of contact to help facilitate the exchange of information. Throughout our long history of serving the 15 counties and two cities that comprise our corporation, we have gone to great lengths to operate in a transparent manner. We welcome this opportunity to  demonstrate how WROTB operates at the highest levels of transparency and is in strong financial shape while at the same time implementing any recommendations that can further improve our operations," Wojtaszek said.


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