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Letter: New Hyde Park Needs Audit of Its Clinton G. Martin Park

As many of you know, we have been imploring Town of North Hempstead (TNH) Supervisor Kaiman to review the financial practices of the Town with regard to our special taxing district, New Hyde Park Park District (NHPPD).  Unlike other park districts who are governed by independent commissioners, we are governed by TNH Board members.  The problem essentially began with the TNH building a “recreation” center on NHPPD’s property - in 1989 NHPPD entered a land rental lease arrangement with the TNH, itself. 

The lease states that NHPPD shall suffer no loss due to the creation of the Town-owned and operated building.  Our major areas of concern are the allocation of expenses and services for the building and rent arrears - keep in mind, the NHPPD is only operational between Memorial and Labor Day.  After years of advising TNH Boards about the NHPPD shortfalls, and in an effort of cooperation, we agreed to form an advisory “park committee” in 2004.  For many years a group of 10 special district members met and reviewed all items relating to the NHPPD.  We defined the same problems, requested the same documents, identified the same concerns and realized the advisory committee would not be a solution and had been a waste of time.  Hence, seeing no resolution in sight, we went to the Nassau County Comptroller’s office and requested a forensic audit of NHPPD.   We provided years of evidence to support allegations regarding fiscal mismanagement. A letter was sent to the TNH requesting an audit of the NHPPD. Immediately, Supervisor Kaiman alleged that the Nassau County Comptroller’s office had no jurisdiction over the special tax district or the Town of North Hempstead;  Supervisor Kaiman flatly refused to allow the Comptroller access to the NHPPD financial records blocking a much needed audit of this special tax district.  The Comptroller was forced to obtain subpoenas demanding the TNH allow his office access.  Again the Supervisor refused, now asserting that NHPPD is a department of TNH where the Comptroller’s office has absolutely no jurisdiction.  We urge the Supervisor to allow the Comptroller’s office access to the records of NHPPD and conduct a proper audit of the district.  Has the Supervisor and the Town of North Hempstead Board forgotten prior audits of special and school districts conducted by former Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman? As civic leaders in the community of New Hyde Park, we don’t care about “politics” in Nassau County or TNH, we merely want an end to the unresolved financial issues brought forward over and over again.  Issues need to be finally addressed –  with each passing budget the taxpayers suffer a little bit more.  We beg the Supervisor to open the books to the County Comptroller and, once and for all, put a stop to the nonsense we have had to endure.  Don’t appeal this ruling, permit the audit and stop wasting our hard earned tax dollars.  

Marianna Wohlgemuth and Marietta DiCamillo