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March 28, 2013

ORDA rebuts data in state report

LAKE PLACID — The Olympic Authority rebutted data in the Comptroller’s Report issued Wednesday and questioned the amount of the deficit.

In particular, CEO and President Ted Blazer said the non-contract procurement cited in the report, which was not an audit, were purchases that do not require bids.

Blazer said non-contract procurement was for “power transmissions or dealer item parts for ski lifts, etc. Other items also include housing for World Cup events, or the like, at the United States Olympic Training Center, which is owned by ORDA and operated by the United States Olympic Committee. In other instances, emergency situations from power outages caused ORDA to use local suppliers to re-establish high-voltage systems in order to resume operations.

“At this time, we find no abnormal purchases in the 2012 report,” Blazer said.

The comptroller cited a 38 percent increase in employment since 2008.

In the prepared statement, Blazer said: “ORDA does not know where the Comptroller’s Office is getting this information and does not agree.”

The 20-percent increase in compensation over four years cited in the report, Blazer said, is “directly related to increases in health-care cost, retirement and workers’ compensation.” 

Blazer also questioned financial data left out of the calculation, which used numbers culled from the Public Authorities Reporting Information System.

He challenged findings that ORDA operated at a $16.9 million loss.

“There are items that are non-cash in nature that were not taken into account, which should have been removed in order to obtain the true cash position. They include state and town appropriations of $7.8 million, back depreciation of $6.725 million, post-retirement benefits of $2.735 million and back non-operating revues of $7.814 million.”

This, he said “places the authority in a more favorable financial situation.”

ORDA had no communication with the Comptroller’s Office before the report was completed.

“If given that opportunity, ORDA would have given an appropriate and justifiable response as it relates to its financial practices and procurements,” Blazer said. 

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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