Updated: 02/26/2014 10:31 AM
Created: 02/25/2014 5:24 PM WNYT.com
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - Without fanfare, the state of New York has taken steps to deal administratively with public assistance fraud at strip clubs and other adult establishments.
Two local Republican assemblymen went to unusual lengths Tuesday to find that out, while separately NewsChannel 13 conducted its own follow-up on a story we broke three years ago.
Whatever your politics, it probably will leave you unhappy to consider your hard-earned tax money can be used at strip clubs, liquor stores and gambling parlors -- money that is supposed to help the poorest New Yorkers pay for basic transportation, food and living essentials.
Earlier this month, state Senate Republicans played a NewsChannel 13 report on the highly questionable spending to support a law barring the misuse.
Assembly Republicans like Steve McLaughlin and Jim Tedisco are fully on board.
Tuesday they tried to visit the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to confirm New York had complied with federal requirements, preserving $120 million that could otherwise be taken away.
After being kept waiting for a half hour at the security desk, the assemblymen and this reporter were told New York had complied with federal requirements three days ago, just before the midnight deadline.
No announcement or news release had previously been made by the Cuomo administration.
"We were talking about this a year ago," said McLaughlin, R-Melrose. "This should have been done. So what the governor is sending a message and what the Assembly Democrats are sending a message is we're OK with fraud to continue until we have absolutely no choice and then we'll do something at the very last second."
Republicans in the legislature favor new laws to limit spending of public assistance benefits.
The Democratic majority in the Assembly has been unwilling to pass such a law.