OCTOBER 16, 2006
In the midst of his reelection campaign, New York State’s Comptroller is under criminal investigation for spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a private chauffeur for his wife for more than three years.
The investigation has not halted New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s reelection campaign, but this week the Queens Democrat turned control of his office – among the state’s most powerful–over to his longtime political consultant as he battles criminal indictment.
In the meantime Hevesi’s opponent, former Saratoga County Treasurer Christopher Callaghan, is calling for him to immediately pay full restitution to New York’s taxpayers for the use of an Office of State Comptroller employee as a chauffeur for his wife.
Callaghan calculated that Hevesi owes New York taxpayers $294,481 for the salary of the state employee assigned to drive Hevesi’s wife around for 3 years. Apparently, the State Comptroller has paid $82,689 and his opponent says that leaves $211,792 illegally financed by taxpayers.
Regardless, Hevesi should receive punishment for this illegal abuse of public funds, which his friends in high places insist on down playing. For instance, New York Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, a Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, continues to defend Hevesi, saying he is “honest” and “stupendous.”
The scary part is that, as comptroller, Hevesi wields tremendous power. He is in charge of a $140 billion pension fund, approves all state contracts and audits state and local governments. In the wake of this chauffeur scandal, can New Yorker’s trust him to do his job honestly and ethically?
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