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State audit: NY Olympic authority in financial trouble - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

State audit: NY Olympic authority in financial trouble

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WILMINGTON, Vt. -

An audit by New York State finds the organization that manages the Olympic facilities in the Empire State has bad spending habits. The company has bled tens of millions and relies on loans to cover its losses.

Liz MacLachlin and her family are visiting from Singapore. They came to Lake Placid because of the village's reputation for great athletic venues.

"Back in Singapore we decided we really wanted to do something in the U.S. for the summer because we have the same vacations as the U.S. And we researched, there were a couple in California, there was one in Idaho, some in Canada and in New York, and the New York one just looked the best," said MacLachlin.

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) runs the many Olympic venues throughout New York. But a recent audit by the state's comptroller says ORDA has been bleeding money, losing $45 million between 2010 and 2013.

State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a statement saying, "ORDA needs to develop a realistic and detailed multiyear financial plan to build its cash reserves and maintain operations for the economic benefit of local communities, as well as the tens of thousands of people who enjoy its attractions."

The audit also found ORDA used loans from state agencies outside of New York to cover its debt and payroll.

"Work to implement many of the recommendations the comptroller's office had brought forth. And we're continually looking at new ways to increase our revenues and come up with energy efficiency programs that'll ultimately help our better line," said Ted Blazer, the president of ORDA.

Since the 1980 Olympics, the village of Lake Placid and the region beyond have worked to draw people in from all over the world to attractions at Whiteface Mountain and the Olympic skating arena. Tourism authorities say ORDA has done just that.

"Averaging about 200,000 skier visits a year. On the Vermont side of the lake those areas are in the 300,000 to 500,000 to 700,000 skiers there, so we have room to grow," said James McKenna, president of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.

McKenna is hopeful bringing more skiers to the Adirondack mountains means more money for ORDA.

"I think we all sort of have to get our heads together and figure out a way to help ORDA drive new revenues so that their bottom line becomes positive," said McKenna.

ORDA says it will continue to work to improve its spending so families like the MacLachlins can continue to enjoy the Olympic facilities.

"We're here every year," said MacLachlin.

ORDA officials say they have a number of special events coming up at Olympic arenas hoping to attract visitors and business.

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