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There are several governmental entities that a citizen taxpayer can make formal complaints to regarding waste, fraud or absue of public resources to like the following:

Division of Investigations
New Toll-free Hotline for New Yorkers to Report Government Fraud and Corruption
1-888-OSC-4555 (1-888-672-4555)
Staffed from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Weekdays

The Division of Investigations was established by the Office of the State Comptroller in January 2003. Its mission is to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, mismanagement and waste in State agencies, local governments, including school districts and other local municipal departments. The Division also investigates allegations of fraud and corruption by vendors doing business with the State and local authorities. To ensure, through the proper balance of internal controls, corruption prevention and detection, that public funds are being used for their intended purposes, and by so doing to uphold the highest standards of integrity in government.

Commission Of Investigation
TEL (212) 344-6660
FAX (212) 344-7806

With a broad statutory mandate to investigate "any matter concerning the public peace, public safety and public justice," the State Commission of Investigation undertakes investigations of corruption, fraud, organized crime, racketeering, money laundering, the conduct of public officers, public employees, officers and employees of public corporations and authorities, and mismanagement in New York State and local government.

State Inspector General
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 2, 16th Floor
Albany, NY 12223
1-800-DO-RIGHT (1-800-367-4448)

The Office of the Inspector General is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that State government and its employees meet the highest standards of honesty, accountability, and efficiency.

There are also various provisions of law that grant the citizen taxpayer the right to challenge in court the malfeasance of public officers. Below is a summary of some of these provisions.

State Finance Law 123-b provides that "Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, any person, who is a citizen taxpayer, whether or not such person is or may be affected or specially aggrieved by the activity herein referred to, may maintain an action for equitable or declaratory relief, or both, against an officer or employee of the state who in the course of his or her duties has caused, is now causing, or is about to cause a wrongful expenditure, misappropriation, misapplication, or any other illegal or unconstitutional disbursement of state funds or state property".

General Municipal Law 51 entitled "Prosecution of officers for illegal acts", provides that: "All officers, agents, commissioners and other persons acting, or who have acted, for and on behalf of any county, town, village or municipal corporation in this state, and each and every one of them, may be prosecuted, and an action may be maintained against them to prevent any illegal official act on the part of any such officers, agents, commissioners or other persons, or to prevent waste or injury to, or to restore and make good, any property, funds or estate of such county, town, village or municipal corporation by any person or corporation whose assessment, or by any number of persons or corporations, jointly, the sum of whose assessments shall amount to one thousand dollars, and who shall be liable to pay taxes on such assessment in the county, town, village or municipal corporation . . ."

General Municipal Law 4 provides that "If twenty-five freeholders in any town or village shall present to a justice of the supreme court of the judicial district in which such town or village is situated, an affidavit, stating that they are freeholders and have paid taxes on real property within such town or village within one year, that they have reason to believe that the moneys of such town or village are being unlawfully or corruptly expended, and the grounds of their belief, such justice, upon ten days' notice to the supervisor, and the officers of the town disbursing the funds to which such moneys belong, or the trustees and treasurer of the village, shall make a summary investigation into the financial affairs of such town or village, and the accounts of such officers, and, in his discretion, may appoint experts to make such investigation, and may cause the result thereof to be published in such manner as he may deem proper."

Public Officers Law 36 entitled "Removal of town, village, improvement district or fire district officer by court" provides "Any town, village, improvement district or fire district officer, except a justice of the peace, may be removed from office by the supreme court for any misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance or malversation in office. An application for such removal may be made by any citizen resident of such town, village, improvement district or fire district or by the district attorney of the county in which such town, village or district is located, and shall be made to the appellate division of the supreme court held within the judicial department embracing such town, village, improvement district or fire district. Such application shall be made upon notice to such officer of not less than eight days, and a copy of the charges upon which the application will be made must be served with such notice."

Sample Notice of Petition and Petition for removal of and officer pursuant to Public Officers Law 36

In the Matter of the Application of

[-----] , [-----] , [-----] and [-----] , Petitioners, for the removal of [-----] from the office of [-----] [title of office] of the Town of [-----] , [-----] County, New York.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, that upon the petition of [-----] , verified [-----] , 20 [--] , a true copy whereof is served upon you herewith, a motion will be made to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, [-----] Department at a term thereof appointed to be held at the [-----] in the City of [-----] , on the [---] day of [-----] , at [-----] in the [---] noon of that day, or as soon thereafter as Counsel can be heard for an order removing you from the office of [-----] [title of office], on the charges against you set out in said petition.

Dated [-----] , 20 [--] .
[----------] Attorney for Petitioner
Address [-----]
Tel. No. [-----]

[Notice must be served at least 8 days before hearing.]

Petition for Removal of Officer as Town Receiver of Taxes

[Caption and introductory paragraph]

1. Your petitioners are all citizens and residents of the Town of [-----] , [-----] County, New York; [-----] is the [-----] [Supervisor] of said Town and [-----] , [-----] and [-----] are the [-----] [Town Councilmen] thereof.

2. The said Town of [-----] is situate within the area embraced by the [-----] judicial department.

3. At the general election in the year 20 [--] , [-----] , then [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] of the Town of [-----] , was duly elected [-----] [Supervisor] of said Town for the unexpired portion of the term of the previously elected incumbent, which term expired [-----] , 20 [--] ; that said [-----] resigned as such [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] on [-----] , 20 [--] and on [-----] , 20 [--] , [-----] was duly appointed [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] of the Town of [-----] for the unexpired term ending [-----] , 20 [--] ; that at the general election in the year 20 [--] , [-----] was duly elected [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] of the Town of [-----] for a term commencing [-----] , 20 [--] and terminating [-----] , 20 [--] ; and [-----] duly qualified as such [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] by the furnishing of an undertaking in the sum of $ [---] , the amount fixed by the Town Board of the Town of [-----] and has continuously acted as such [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] since [-----] , 20 [--] and is now acting as such.

4. The office of [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] of the Town of [-----] is a salaried position and the said [-----] receives a salary of $ [-----] annually as such [-----] [Receiver of Taxes].

5. As such [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] it is the duty of the said [-----] , [-----] [to collect all appropriate school, county and town taxes] by the said [-----] ; [-----] failed to ascertain and discover [-----] [that [-----] delivered at said time to a clerk in the office of the [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] the personal check of [-----] in the approximate sum of $ [---] to cover the shortage in the accounts of [-----] etc.].

6. [-----] failed to acquire knowledge of the above facts obtainable through the exercise of reasonable and proper care and to prevent a further misappropriation of funds in his office; that [-----] was grossly negligent in the performance of his public duties in such failure in view of the fact that [-----] [he had knowledge on or about [-----] , 20 [--] , that his predecessor in office was rendering his account one month after the time he should have done so and was paying over cash and cashiers checks which, under the law, his said predecessor in office should have deposited at the time of the collection thereof in a bank account to the credit of the Town of [-----] ].

7. [-----] was grossly derelict in his public duty in [-----] [Specify additional charges].

WHEREFORE, your petitioners pray that [-----] be removed from the office of [-----] [Receiver of Taxes] of the Town of [-----] .