Queensbury Councilman Doug Irish requests and receives on June 7, 2017 the Final Audit Report from the NYS DOS:
Email from Cindi Denick, Administrator – “Attached please find the final audit report that was prepared on December 10, 2015 based upon our receipt of the Town’s response letter on December 4, 2015 …” DOS email with Final Audit
Final Audit Report for Queensbury: Queensbury 12-10-15 Final Audit Report
John Strough’s response included in the Final Audit Report: Queensbury response to final report Ms. Denick stated this letter was received on December 4, 2015.
6/7/2017 LOOKTV Interview 6/7/2017:
“Yes you could say it is ‘auditing’ and use it informally … was never an audit it was a review and it even says review at the top of the page.” Queensbury Supervisor John Strough
The Post Star reported on June 4, 2017:
He admitted he had not given the town board a copy of the audit report in 2015, and said he regretted that now.
“If I had a crystal ball, I’ll go back in time and do it,” he said. Queensbury Supervisor John Strough
The Town of Bolton and Village of Lake George were also audited:
For an outline of activities to date: Outline LGWC
My newsletter May 31, 2017 titled: Click – Got it wrong
For a copy of the NYS DOS Audit Summary 10/20/2015 stating “The Town neglected their fiduciary duties …“: NYS DOS Audit Summary of Review and Findings 10-20-2015
For an audio account of the June 6, 2016 Queensbury Town Board Meeting when Supervisor Strough states the “Department of State is Happy …”
For an audio account of the August 17, 2016 Queensbury Town Board meeting where both Supervisor Strough and Dave Decker say the town of Queensbury “Passed the Department of State audit …”:
For an audio account of the May 1, 2017 Town Board meeting heated exchange between Mr. Strough and Mr. Irish:
In October 2015 the NYS Department of State (DOS) released an audit report to Queensbury Supervisor John Strough that was highly critical of five (5) grants Dave Decker obtained and administered on behalf of the Town of Queensbury finding:
“The Town neglected their fiduciary duties …”
Supervisor Strough did not share the audit report with the Queensbury Town Board, Town Budget Officer or the public. Below is what the audit report said and what Mr. Strough and Mr. Decker reported to the Queensbury Town Board:
Oct. 20, 2015 Audit Report: The Town failed to document and report required local match for three of the five contracts reviewed. The Town failed to appropriately manage and oversee … contracts by fully relying on one subcontractor (I.E. Dave Decker) without engaging in sufficient reviews …
6/6/2016 Queensbury Town Board Meeting:²
John Strough: The final submissions, I’ve been seeing the paper work, the Department of State is happy with everything so far and the back and the forth and everything else. So the grants are in fairly good shape they’re close to being finalized and payments should be forth coming in the very near future.
Oct. 20, 2015 Audit Report: The Town did not require submission of documentation from subcontractors to substantiate payment requests submitted to DOS. The Town did not verify that the work scope identified on payment requests was consistent … with the contract.
8/17/2016 Queensbury Town Board Meeting:²
John Strough: … and then you have the [sic] then we got audited which is good …
Dave Decker: Right. Which we passed. Everything. It was an 18 month audit. The state audited every receipt. Every check.
John Strough: and we passed the audit … all these grants everything down to the final little thing.
Oct. 20, 2015 Audit Report: The Town did not discover that contracts did not accurately reflect the contract expenditures … The Town did not review the documentation in a manner that would allow for the recognition of duplicate expenditure claims. The Town did not sufficiently document reported local match.
The thing is the Town of Queensbury never “passed” the audit.
The Queensbury Town Board went on to approve another payment to Mr. Decker in January 2016 with Supervisor Strough only having the knowledge of the 10/20/2015 DOS audit report. We only found out about it later because of the work of citizen watchdog Travis Whitehead who uncovered it.
Why are we finding out about this because of a citizen watch dog and not our elected representative?
1. DOS Audit Summary 10/20/2015: NYS DOS Audit Summary of Review and Findings 10-20-2015
2. For an audio account of the June 6, 2016 Queensbury Town Board Meeting “Department of State is Happy …”
For an audio account of the August 17, 2016 Queensbury Town Board meeting “Passed the Department of State audit …”
For an audio account of the May 1, 2017 Town Board meeting between Mr. Strough and Mr. Irish:
The Town of Queensbury paid $3,262,952.02 directly to Dave Decker (Vender 4735) from 2/14/2003 to 1/12/2016:
For a complete list of Queensbury Town Board Meetings audio, please click: http://www.queensbury.net/government/agendas-and-minutes/town-board-meeting-audio/
Mr. Decker has been arrested on fraud charges. The Post Star report:
In 2015 the New York State Department of State audited five (5) grants Mr. Decker obtained and administered on behalf of the Town of Queensbury:
Click for DOS Audit Summary 10/20/2015: NYS DOS Audit Summary of Review and Findings 10-20-2015
Supervisor John Strough did not copy the Town Board on his response to the NYS Department of State Audit dated October 20, 2015:
Councilman Doug Irish learned of the audit in 2017 and contacted Barbara Tierney the Queensbury Town Budget Officer about it. Here was her response on April 20, 2017:
“I do not have any audit from DOS. I was not aware of a DOS report until you just brought it up.” Click: Strough and Tierney response to Doug Irish audit question
When questioned about the audit by Councilman Doug Irish, Supervisor John Strough said on April 20, 2017:
“I have not seen this report, and this is the first I am hearing of its possible existence. Therefore, I am not familiar with its contents.” Click: Strough and Tierney response to Doug Irish audit question
Supervisor Strough was careful to parse his words about the specific report Councilman Irish asked about. At which time Lt. Steve Stockdale clarified the issue in an email response and stated,
“Mr. Strough – I apologize for the confusion. The pdf I forwarded to you contained the first five pages of the DOS report consisting of the “Summary of Review and Findings” portion of the correspondence. There were indeed a total of 133 pages attached to their report, which consisted primarily of copies of contracts, emails and various legal-ese. I will absolutely scan and attach the remainder of the report if you request such.” Lt. Steve Stockdale
Even after such clarification from the Sheriff’s office Supervisor Strough continued to deny he had ever seen the audit report for which he sent a response to DOS.
Lt. Steve Stockdale reminded Mr. Strough in an email on April 20, 2017 that he indeed did know of the report unless someone forged his signature:
“If, as you have stated in prior correspondence, you have not seen this report in the past and are seeing it now for the first time then I respectfully suggest that you may have been the victim of a forgery. If you determine that is the case we are available to assist you with that as well.”
Lt. Stockdale also noted with Mr. Strough the fact that he did not share the DOS audit as part of the subpoena in the Decker case and the Sheriff had obtained it directly from DOS:
“… these documents (DOS audit) were provided to us by the Department of State and not by the Town of Queensbury …”
Click for April 20, 2017 email Lt. Steve Stockdale: Stockdale Email1
Supervisor John Strough has called this nothing more than “politics” and held up two letters at the May 1, 2017 Town Board meeting stating the board was copied and notified of the audit, but these letters did not address the audit and were letters written in 2014 before the release of the audit. Here are the two letters Mr. Strough referenced:
Click: Strough to Decker