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OTB extends contract with noted Buffalo defense attorney | Local News

Western Regional Off-Observe Betting Corp. has agreed to pay out a outstanding Buffalo defense attorney far more revenue as he proceeds to give the general public entity with authorized assistance on thoughts bordering the legality of thoroughly paid out health insurance remaining presented to customers of OTB’s board.

In the course of a assembly Thursday, OTB’s board of administrators accepted a resolution authorizing the expenditure of up to $25,000 as portion of a deal extension with Connors, LLP, the Buffalo legislation agency headed by lawyer Terry Connors that has representing OTB on numerous legal matters considering that 2019.

The shift will come as OTB representatives proceed negotiations with the New York Point out Legal professional General’s Office environment around a controversial wellness insurance policy plan that extends comprehensive wellness, dental and eyesight advantages to OTB board members and their spouses.

Both the legal professional common and the state comptroller’s workplace have previously rendered opinions that OTB directors are not suitable to acquire well being insurance policy benefits covered by the public advantage company as aspect of their payment for serving as board members.

OTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek explained this 7 days that Connors has investigated the subject and thinks people viewpoints may well be “non-binding” wherever OTB is worried. Wojtaszek reported on Wednesday that Connors is continuing discussions on the matter with representatives from the legal professional general’s workplace.

A spokesperson for state Comptroller Thomas DiNapolis reported Thursday the comptroller’s place on eligibility for compensated wellness coverage for OTB board associates has not adjusted. An lawyer for DiNapoli earlier described the observe as “impermissible.”

“The state comptroller has consistently and unambiguously informed the OTB that it may not provide wellbeing insurance policies for board members an opinion shared by the state legal professional general’s place of work,” DiNapoli spokesperson Jennifer Freeman stated. “We yet again urge OTB to take acceptable motion to recuperate improperly put in public monies.”

According to board minutes offered on OTB’s web-site, directors voted, in the course of an govt session on June 21, 2021 to reduce wellbeing coverage gains for administrators appointed on or after July 1, 2021.

Wojtaszek said the board has instructed him to produce a complete plan to address wellness treatment for OTB personnel. Wojtaszek has been instructed by the board to provide them an update at the September board conference.

OTB hired Connors in 2019 in the wake of a sequence of released studies that raised thoughts about the handling of OTB sources, including the distribution of sporting and live performance tickets ordered with public money that ended up intended to be employed to assistance the agency’s promotional efforts.

Very last tumble, auditors from DiNapoli’s business decided that OTB officials improperly assisted on their own to tickets paid out for by the company and also discovered that Wojtaszek failed to properly account for personal use of his OTB-issued automobile.

In 2021, Connors well prepared a 380-web site inner report that OTB officials mentioned, in published reviews, concluded that Wojtaszek was cleared of any wrongdoing.

The report has not been introduced publicly as OTB statements it’s safeguarded from disclosure owing to “attorney-client privilege.”

Buffalo-based Investigative Publish claimed before this 12 months that invoices attained by a Freedom of Information and facts ask for submitted by the information outlet confirmed OTB paid out Connors, LLP $49,935 for lawful products and services rendered between July 30, 2020 and March 24, 2022.

In other matters on Thursday, the OTB board licensed the acquire of $50,000 really worth of $20 Tops reward cards that will be presented to patrons of the Batavia Downs resort as part of a advertising exertion to inspire people today to continue to be at the lodge.