BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The SUNY Research Foundation is the target of an investigation by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's Office.
The private corporation controls over a billion dollars for the sole purpose of promoting research at SUNY. A pending audit report questions the expenditure of more than $4 million by the foundation, and has led to the firing of a former manager at Buffalo State.
The SUNY Research Foundation has offices at college campuses across the state, including a basement office at Buffalo State's Bishop Hall. The audit uncovered the use of thousands of dollars in charges put on the corporate credit card by Edgar Turkle, the operations manager at the Buff State site.
Investigators found questionable charges for hotels, dining, and travel, as well as personal items such as a laptop, iPad, iPhones, and groceries. The report is also expected to show Turkle put Sabres season tickets on the corporate card.
Turkle was fired in February.
In a brief statement, Buffalo State President Aaron Podolefsky points out Turkle was employed by the Research Foundation, not Buff State, and "upon learning of the inappropriate and unethical actions, the Research Foundation took immediate action, assuming direct oversight of operations on campus, including appointing Buffalo State's comptroller to serve as the new operations manager for foundation's campus office."
The audit report is expected to be released sometime this week. But the State Comptroller's audit report is also expected to question a number of other glaring practices, such as the hiring of a so-called "no-show" employee related to a well-connected Albany politician and several no-bid contracts that cost the foundation millions of dollars.
A spokesman for the Research Foundation told News 4 they are already implementing a number of recommendations for improving the corporation.
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