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10:53 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Comptroller: Former State Arts Official Overpaid

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the Spitzer administration ignored a salary cap and overpaid the former head of a state arts council.

A DiNapoli audit says former arts council director Heather Hitchens was paid $135,000 annually for three years, when her salary was supposed to be no more than $109,800. The administration evaded the cap by paying Hitchens $25,000 under a separate contract.

Hitchens's attorney, Richard Godosky, says the compensation was fully approved by two different state agencies.

Auditors say the contract was for cultural tourism work, but those duties were part of her salaried position.

Hitchens is now executive director of the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tony Awards.

DiNapoli wants more controls and possible recovery of overpayments.