Category: Archive

State clears parade committee

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

But the state’s chief law enforcement office will be keeping an eye on how the parade conducts its financial affairs over the next three years.
The office of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer initiated an investigation of the parade’s inner workings after a series of highly public disagreements between leading figures in the parade organization and the Irish-American community.
Open disagreements with the parade committee involving, among others, former parade corporation president William Flynn and former AOH National President Tom Gilligan, centered on access to the parade’s financial books.
Flynn resigned as parade corporation president in August 2001 over his frustration in failing to get access to parade books.
Gilligan moved to sever ties between the National Board of the AOH and the parade committee, the members of which have traditionally been Hibernians.
Flynn had described the state of the parade’s affairs at the time of his resignation as a “first-class legal and financial mess” and the board from which he had resigned as “rotten to the core.”
Flynn’s public statements were an undoubted spur to the resulting attorney general’s office probe, an investigation that included a close look at how the parade committee handled money paid by corporate sponsors such as the Ford Motor Company.
Upon conclusion of the probe, which wound up last month, a statement released by Dietrich Snell, deputy attorney general for public advocacy, stated that the “investigation” had been concluded and had resulted in an “Assurance of Discontinuance” co-signed by parade committee officials and the Attorney General’s office.
The agreement, according to the AG’s office, “modifies the committee’s practices.”
Specifically, the agreement requires that the parade committee provide the attorney general with an annual “detailed fiscal year budget” and “dollar-for-dollar expenditure reports” relating to the operations of the committee and the parade.
“There will be spot compliance, there will be oversight for three years,” Paul Larrabee, a spokesman for the attorney general said.
“The [parade] committee will be obliged to comply with this agreement and significant penalties will accrue if there is non-compliance,” he said.
In addition to providing fiscal information, the agreement requires the parade committee to acknowledge the right of parade committee trustees, officers and directors to review and inspect the committee’s books and records.
The agreement further requires that vendor expenses incurred by the committee be paid directly to vendors and that any payment checks in excess of $500 will require the signature of two authorized signatories, independent of the payee.
“We’re very pleased that the attorney general found no wrongdoing on the part of any of the officers or directors of the parade and has given us a clean bill of health,” parade spokesman Dr. John Lahey said.
Lahey said that the attorney general had recommended some standard practice improvements in the parade’s book keeping, that the committee was happy to comply and was intent on moving toward computerization of its accounts.

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