Audit: pornography found on Tonawanda Housing Authority computers

Posted at 6:37 PM, May 25, 2017

NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released an audit Thursday of the Tonawanda Housing Authority (THA) exposing "significant management issues" with the authority.

The audit examined the THA's operations from April 2013 to July 2016 and revealed inappropriate computer usage, inequitable tenant and applicant treatment and high vacancy rates in public housing.

According to DiNapoli, THA staff were using computers at work to view pornography and shop online. Those computers were discovered to have been infected by malware that the reports says "could have compromised the personal, private and sensitive information of tenants maintained by the authority".

The comptroller is not aware of any such infringement of private, sensitive information happening to THA tenants.

Vacancy rates at THA were also significantly above the state recommendation for the period of the audit. Senior living vacancies sat at 33 percent and other housing vacancies were averaging 9 percent. The state aims for housing authorities to maintain a 5 percent vacancy.

Dale Kokanovich took over as the THA Executive Secretary last year, as the audit was getting underway. He explained changes are already in place that have made improvements on the findings in Comptroller DiNapoli's report.

"So we had the opportunity to start working on solutions to the problem as soon as they were brought to our attention," Kokanovich said. "We implemented IT consultants to come in and sort of analyze our situation."

The current overall vacancy rate at THA is just below 6 percent. Kokanovich said they have a new computer system in place that protects sensitive information for the tenants.

According to Kokanovich, THA has changed its policies to give board members more access to operations allowing for better oversight of the staff.