TROY, N.Y. - The retired comptroller of the Troy Housing Authority took home $207,000 in inappropriate payments while collecting a public pension in apparent violation of state law, among other financial problems, according to a report released Tuesday by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
The report, released by DiNapoli's office and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General, says Roger Rosenthal, of Latham and Florida, returned to work as Acting Comptroller at THA while collecting an annual New York state pension of approximately $47,000.
The report says he allegedly submitted falsified documents to avoid legal restrictions on "double-dipping," or collecting a public pension while working for a public employer.
DiNapoli says the investigation was carried out with the full support of the current THA administration and uncovered several misdeeds by Rosenthal and his former THA executive secretary, William Meissner.
Among the findings:
· After Rosenthal retired in 2005, he was not legally permitted to earn more than $30,000 as a public employee without approval of the Civil Service Commission, nor could he enter into a consultant contract with a public employer without pre-approval by the New York State Retirement System. This review is designed to prevent re-employment in the same job under the guise of contracting.
· Rosenthal sought a full-time job at the THA, represented himself as "Acting Comptroller" on THA documents and billed the authority several months a year from his second home in Florida. He garnered more than $207,000 in pay and reimbursements from 2006 to 2010. He did not submit a re-employment proposal to the Civil Service Commission, as required.
· When questioned by investigators, Rosenthal submitted apparently falsified back-dated "contracts" that no one at the THA had seen or approved. These documents are contradicted by a Rosenthal email stating that his arrangement had always been verbal. Rosenthal's correspondence was on letterhead which did not exist at the time it was allegedly written.
· Rosenthal was assisted in the scam by Meissner who, in 2009, inappropriately cancelled a job offer to a legitimate Civil Service candidate for the THA comptroller's position, allowing Rosenthal to continue his THA employment through April 2010.
· Meissner, whose THA employment was terminated in April 2010, cashed in up to $32,000 of leave time that he had actually used. In one instance, Meissner claimed he was working when he was attending his daughter's wedding in the Caribbean.
· Meissner and Rosenthal accepted gifts from THA vendors including fully-paid golf outings.
The THA, which provides affordable housing in Troy, N.Y., is run by a seven-member board and supervised by its Executive Secretary.