NY Fair Probe Grows

An ongoing criminal probe into the New York State Fair has expanded with news that officials have launched an additional civil investigation.

The criminal investigation into wasteful spending and patronage followed a report from the state inspector general last month.

In the report, Inspector General Joseph Fisch alleged former fair director Peter Cappuccilli diverted $78,000 into personal accounts and nearly $1 million was misspent by the fair under his watch.

The report also criticized the Department of Agriculture & Markets that oversees the fair for two no-bid contracts with Live Nation and Classic Entertainment and Sports.

The newly launched civil probe is expected to examine the fair’s contracting and hiring practices. 

N.Y. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued subpoenas to five companies Aug. 31, according to Syracuse’s Post-Standard, including Clear Channel Radio and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, which are sought as witnesses.

“The state fair is a celebration of our shared heritage and culture that is critical to the Upstate economy and enjoyed by people across the state,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The fair is a source of pride for all New Yorkers and we must protect it. Our actions are aimed at ending systemic problems that have created a culture of patronage and cronyism at the expense of taxpayers.”

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker told the Post-Standard the Department of Agriculture & Markets plans to cooperate with Cuomo’s office and has already taken steps to eliminate cronyism and waste at the fair.