Thursday, June 30, 2011

The ESDC conducted an internal audit of Atlantic Yards, but we can't see it; in response to my FOIL request, most was redacted

Some web searching led me to learn that the Empire State Development Corporation had conducted an internal audit of Atlantic Yards project activity sometime last year.

So I filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. I got a response (embedded below), but it wasn't very helpful.

Overall bill of health

As the first paragraph of the Executive Summary states:
Internal Audit completed a review of Atlantic Yards (AY) project activity processed and conducted through ESDC The review revealed that disbursements in connection with the project funding agreement were made in accordance with funding agreement terms and project costs were adequately supported by documentation.
Nearly all redacted

What else did the audit reveal? Were better procedures needed at all?

Well, we don't know, because nearly everything else was redacted, under a FOIL exemption that provides that an agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that are inter-agency or intra agency materials which are not:
  • statistical or factual tabulations or data
  • instructions to staff that affect the public
  • final agency policy or determinations
  • external audits
OK, I get it, but then why redact nearly all of it? Why not simply deny me the document? Otherwise it leaves the impression that there may be some less positive news that's not getting out. ESDC Atlantic Yards Audit

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