Settlement Reached Involving Adirondack Speedway
Attorney General Spitzer today announced that he reached agreements with a Lewis County based not-for-profit, and the owner/operator of Adirondack International Speedway, which will resolve issues related to the award of a $500,000 County grant to make improvements to the Speedway.
Paul Lyndaker, a well known Lewis County businessman, is the owner of both the Speedway and a construction company, Lyndaker Excavating and Trucking.
The agreements arise from an investigation by the Attorney General and a referral from the office of State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi. In an audit of Lewis County issued earlier this year, the Comptroller's office found that Lewis County officials inappropriately directed public funds to private businesses, including $500,000 to the Adirondack International Speedway, through Lewis County Opportunities (LCO), Inc., a not-for-profit community development agency.
"Projects which involve taxpayer support require that the public interest be protected," said Spitzer. "When that standard is breached, it our responsibility to act in manner to restore that trust and interest."
Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi said: "Officials in Lewis County have said that the grants in question were made to support local economic development. Creating and retaining jobs and stimulating local economic activity is important, but when public funds are involved it must be done legally and equitably. I am pleased that Attorney General Spitzer is monitoring these programs and ensuring fairness in local economic development projects."
The project called for the development of an "Almost-Mile" race track, suitable for conducting NASCAR events at the Speedway, along with a number of track related enhancements. Project funding originated with a grant by Lewis County to the LCO for the Speedway project.
The Attorney General's investigation revealed that Lyndaker Excavating performed project work at the Speedway and that it engaged in improper billing practices.
The investigation also revealed that LCO had failed to adequately supervise the Speedway project, which vastly exceeded its original budget and failed to achieve project milestones. At this time, the project remains unfinished and is without a stream of funding to complete the work.
Under the terms of two separate agreements, Lyndaker has agreed to grant the County a security interest in the Speedway in the amount of $342,725 and repay $40,000 to the County in settlement for improper billings. These sums, in addition to monies the LCO returned to the County when the Attorney General commenced the investigation, constitute repayment of the entire $500,000 grant. In addition, LCO has agreed to cease working with the Speedway in any capacity, and to report to the Attorney General on its activities for a period of five years
Lewis County Legislative Board Chairman Bruce Krug praised the Attorney General's settlement: "We are pleased to be able to put this chapter in county government behind us and appreciate the good work of the Attorney General's Office in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion."
This matter was handled by Carrie H. Cohen, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, Sally Blinken, Assistant Attorney General, Charities Bureau, John Sullivan, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Watertown Regional Office, and Marty Mack, Deputy Attorney General.
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