Recent weeks have offered up one new revelation after another about corruption at Western New York Off-Track Betting (OTB). This includes the findings of a new audit of OTB by the New York State Comptroller (“Comptroller audit critical of WROTB ticket oversight, personal use of vehicles,” Sept. 24). OTB staff and board members have given themselves and their friends more than $120,000 worth of expensive luxury tickets to Bills games, Sabers games, and other events. On top of that, the public agency has been handing out expensive health insurance plans to its part-time board members (they meet once a month), in direct violation of New York State rules.
Genesee County’s appointed board member, Richard Siebert, recently admitted that he has been receiving a health plan for almost three decades. But he defended the practice and claims that OTB is correcting the problem. Their solution: He and the other board members currently serving will continue to get their expensive plans, but no one joining the board in the future will.
Think about that. Imagine you find out that someone you hired to run your store has been taking from the register, for decades. Then they tell you it is all going to be ok. They are going to keep raiding the register, but the new people can’t.
The only solution to this kind of self-dealing in a public agency is to clean house. The CEO, Henry Wojtaszek, and the board members who have let this happen, all need to go. Otherwise, let’s just put up a sign at Batavia Downs: “Corruption Welcome Here.”