May 16, 2017

State Auditor Wrapping Up Complex CRDA Report

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The State Auditor’s office is in the final stages of a probe of finances and performance at Atlantic City’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, after a longer-than-expected investigation.

Auditors from the office began looking into CRDA’s books and records last year for the first time in the Authority’s history.

“It’s taking a little bit more time than we initially thought,” said John Termyna, assistant state auditor, in an interview last month. “It became more comprehensive,” he said, adding the extended investigation was “because of some of the things that we got into.” Termyna said he would not go into details about the findings of the audit before it is published.

CRDA says it has doled out almost $2 billion in casino-funded development grants and loans since 1984. The state’s audit was always going to be take some time, Termyna said. “We did expect it to be a very comprehensive audit,” he said. “Because of some of the things that we got into, that sort of took a lot more time than we had anticipated in getting additional information.”

Termyna said he hopes to have a draft report before the end of June. A spokeswoman for CRDA declined to comment on the audit process.

The State Auditor’s office sits within the Office of Legislative Services. It is not clear why the CRDA audit began last year. Termyna said the office tries to audit agencies and authorities on a five-year cycle. The auditor’s office mostly sets its own timetable for audits, although in rare instances it may respond to a legislative request to perform an audit.

A chunk of CRDA’s funding has been diverted to cash-strapped Atlantic City. CRDA earlier this year said it would cut staff headcount to reduce its costs, but it also began paying four of its directors a monthly stipend.