SMG Disputes Nassau Audit

Officials at SMG dispute a recent audit for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.

Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman held a press conference August 9th, alleging facility manager SMG of shortchanging the county $900,000 in concessions, parking and other fees.

The bulk of the underpayments came from souvenir sales between July 2002 and December 2004, Weitzman said, adding that he forwarded the audit to the county district attorney and asked her to “take appropriate action to recoup these payments.”

SMG said its accountants and attorneys later reviewed the findings and the company “strongly refutes” the figures.

“It is unfortunate that the County Comptroller, who is seeking office of County Executive, chose to hold a press conference and released the audit findings without discussion with SMG,” company CEO Wes Westley said in a statement. “SMG cooperated with the Comptrollers Office in supplying data and information but was never consulted on the final findings nor informed a press conference was being held.

“SMG has a 25 year long term relationship with Nassau County and has been subject to periodic audits every few years with no material findings.”

In addition to souvenir sales, Weitzman’s report said SMG underreported commissions.

Westley told Pollstar that when everything is thoroughly reviewed, the county may find that it actually owes SMG money.

SMG has had a contract with the venue, home of hockey’s New York Islanders, since 1979.

Islanders owner Charles Wang and a local developer submitted a proposal in March for renovations to the coliseum as part of a $1.6 billion redevelopment of the surrounding area. Wang had been seeking a new arena for several years.

Under the proposed redevelopment plan, the county could buy out the remainder of its contract with SMG, which runs through 2015.