New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said prosecutors are looking into possible conflicts of interest in the state comptroller’s office that may have affected the state’s pension fund, according to the Associated Press.
The probe is said to be focused on whether “gate keepers” in the comptrollers’ office guarded against undue influence in investing the $150 billion pension fund, according to the wire service. “It’s about systemic conflicts of interests that we believe may exist in the comptroller’s office involving the pension fund, which is a precious New York asset,” Cuomo reportedly said.
Dennis Tompkins, a spokesman in the comptroller’s office, told AP that the probe is limited to the claims about the behavior of past comptrollers’ office employees under former Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
Earlier this year, CFO.com reported how politics, and a desire to defy former New York State Attorney General and now Governor Elliot Spitzer, played a bigger role in selecting the comptroller of New York than accounting, auditing, and pension acumen. Ultimately, they elected Thomas DiNapoli, an assembly member for 20 years.
The need to pick a comptroller came about when Hevesi stepped down in December after pleading guilty to a felony involving the improper use of the services of a state employee as a driver for his ill wife. Cuomo reportedly began his probe in January, before DiNapoli took office. The New York comptroller oversees a $150 billion pension fund, about 2,500 employees, thousands of audits, and the issuance of massive financial reports. Previously an assembly member since 1986, DiNapoli had been noted, for his involvement in environmental and educational legislation rather than finance.