NY Comptroller Being Probed Over Conflict-of-Interest Activities

May 8, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is looking into whether the officials in the state comptroller's office may have improperly swayed the investment decisions of those running the state's $150 billion pension fund, sources told the Albany Times Union

Cuomo told the Times Union that the investigation into civil violations is “about systematic conflicts of interest that we believe may exist in the comptroller’s office involving the pension fund, which is a precious New York asset.” The comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, is the pension fund’s sole trustee.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares is reportedly also putting together a criminal investigation into whether the comptroller’s office engaged in conflict-of-interest. Soares’ investigation includes DiNapoli, Jack Chartier, the chief of staff under former Comptroller Alan Hevesi and others involved in business dealings in the office.    

According to the newspaper, last year Soares was reportedly investigating Chartier and his use of state resources and employees to provide rides for Peggy Lipton – the actress who starred in the television show “The Mod Squad” – and whether people wanting to get business with the pension fund showered her with gifts.

The New York comptroller’s office has not been without its share of problems. Hevesi resigned his position at the helm of the office last year amid allegations that he abused resources by having state employees chauffeur his wife and help with personal chores (See Hevesi Missteps Could Trigger Removal – Eventually ). He pleaded guilty to a felony, but escaoed serving any jail time.