Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released an audit of the Nassau County Office of Real Estate Services which found deficiencies in a department that oversees over $1.3 billion in County owned property. The audit uncovered inaccurate inventory records for owned and leased properties, poor accounting, inadequate billing and collection practices which resulted in over $6 million in outstanding receivables. A lack of property inspections also resulted in at least $6.9 million worth of surplus properties not being identified for sale. The Department of Real Estate recognized the issues and responded positively to the audit by committing to implement accurate accounting practices and to work with the County Attorney to collect past due accounts among other changes.
“It is unfortunate that the County’s large real estate portfolio has been inadequately managed with uncollected rents and lost revenue opportunities exceeding $12.9 million,” said Comptroller George Maragos. “However, it now represents a huge opportunity, if managed effectively, to obtain new revenues and increase the County tax base by selling surplus properties.”
Auditors also found that County owned properties were not being inspected and there was no inventory of surplus properties identified for sale. The County did sell properties totaling $ 9.8 million and $11.6 million in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Property sales dropped to only $3 million in 2013. On a small sample of fourteen properties, six properties valued at $6.9 million were deemed surplus that should be sold and which could further generate $295,000 annually in tax revenues for the schools, towns and the County. Additionally, Real Estate was not aware of several hundred vehicles from three dealerships that were parked at the Nassau County Coliseum as part of a subcontract with the vendor who manages the property. The County was not receiving any share of revenues for the parking of these vehicles.
“It is critical that the department follow through on its numerous corrective actions and aggressively pursue collecting owed rents and concession revenues,” said Comptroller George Maragos. “The department needs to recognize, however, that without adequate qualified professional staff, the proposed corrective actions will not succeed in fulfilling its mission.”
A copy of the full report is available on the Comptroller’s website.