Broome County IDA cited for conflict of interest

PHOTO: http://campusapts.com/binghamton/

A report released Wednesday by the state comptroller's office raises concerns about conflict-of-interest on the Broome County Industrial Development Agency's board of directors. The Innovation Trail's Matt Richmond reports.

George Akel is chairman of the board of the Broome County IDA and a part owner of Washington Development Associates. While serving as chairman of the board, Akel's company received tax breaks for the development of student housing in downtown Binghamton.

The comptroller's report calls Akel's involvement with a company doing business with the IDA a prohibited conflict of interest. According to Deputy Comptroller Steven Hancox, that means either Akel should have left the IDA board or the IDA should not have done any business with Washington Development Associates.

Neither Akel nor the IDA's Executive Director Richard D'Attilio were available for comment to Thursday. The comptroller's office added that Broome County's IDA, in general, has done a good job selecting projects that benefit the wider community.