Years Late and Tens of Thousands Short; Criminal Charges Possible?

“Criminal Charges Possible.” That’s the sub-head to a press release issued today over readMedia’s Newswire (releases from readMedia are available to subscribers of the Empire Page) from the NYS Inspector General’s office disclosing the results of an investigation of spending habits of the former director of the New York State Fair.

What they found was that from 1995 to 2005 Peter Cappuccilli, Jr. “diverted” $78,000 of state monies for personal use and “squandered” $870,000 of state money “on lavish parties, holiday cards and two daughters’ weddings.” I suppose that was “impersonal” use.

The point is that once again we find NYS years late in uncovering what had to have been obvious at the time and more than a dollar short.

But to rub salt into the taxpayer’s wounds, the Inspector General isn’t certain whether to persue criminal charges.

Here’s what I would say to THE inspector general — Joseph Fisch — whose name is never refered to in the press release if I were the governor of NYS: “Mr. Fisch. NYS is going to press criminal charges in this matter today. It’s either going to be against you or Mr. Cappucilli. Your choice.”

But let me repeat myself because I want anyone who disagrees with me to tell me why — the real crime here is that Mr. Cappuccilli’s behavior begain 15 years ago and NYS waited until he retired — on some huge state pension no doubt — before they figured out the guy was crooked.

Because it took so long, very little of this money will be recovered, New York will have spent tens of thousands before it’s over investigation and hopefully prosecuting the man and the fact that this guy was allowed to get away with this kind of activity only promotes a culture within NY that such things as hiring 40 relatives of your employees in your private ventures is okay with us.

What’s the solution? Privatize the state fair. Let me repeat that for those who like to skim. PRIVATIZE THE STATE FAIR.

Let companies bid on running it. They pay NYS for the contract. There are no NYS emloyees involved, no pension obligations, minimal liabilities, etc. Then if the owner of the company who gets the bid wants to divert money from his company to his personal use, NYS taxpayers will not be the ones suffering from sore backsides.

‘nuf said.

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