BUFFALO, NY (WKBW/Business First) - The state comptroller’s office has released its audit of the SUNY Research Foundation, documenting violations by a former official who spent more than $130,000 on foreign trips, a birthday party for his wife and Buffalo Sabres tickets.
The report cited Edgar Turkle III, who was fired in February of this year from his job as Operations Manager and Vice President for Research Administration and Economic Development.
Auditors reviewed 424 of Turkle’s credit card transactions from November 2007 through November 2011, and found 348 purchases totaling $130,887 were not adequately supported as being business-related.
Turkle traveled to foreign countries in 29 out of the 48 months, incurring $125,342 for foreign travel, primarily to Asia. He acknowledged traveling with Buffalo State faculty members on trips to China and Thailand.
“I am the guy. No other way to put it,” Turkle is quoted as saying in the report.
He also charged the Research Foundation $22,225 for Buffalo Sabres tickets, which he admitted were his personal season tickets, and other items such as a birthday celebration for his wife, an Apple laptop computer, an iPad, iPhones, Godiva chocolates, and groceries.
The comptroller’s report noted the purchases clearly benefited only Turkle and may be taxable under the Internal Revenue Code. Turkle did reimbursed the Research Foundation $10,674 for personal charges on his credit card.
The comptroller’s office has also made its finding known to the Albany County District Attorney.
In addition, the 31-page audit examined three contracts totaling $95,574 at Buffalo State College that were procured without required written or verbal bids. One of these procurements went to a professor who was awarded a $30,000 contract to work as a consultant on a project to improve the quality of service that the Research Foundation provides to its constituents.
The other two contracts, which totaled $30,389 and $35,185, respectively, were to rebuild a piano and to pay for a research microscope system.
Also, the State University of New York chancellor’s account was charged $27,968 for questionable items, including $13,172 for beverages, mostly alcohol, and $9,822 for the initiation fee and dues for the chancellor’s membership in a private club.