News Flash

LD 05 - Legislator Kara Hahn

Posted on: March 21, 2018

Quarterly Reporting of Asset Forfeiture Funds Approved by Suffolk Legislature

Grimes County Courthouse, Anderson, Texas by Patrick Feller

One year after Suffolk County adopted new oversights intended to increase transparency of asset forfeiture funds administered by the Police and Probation Departments and District Attorney’s and Sheriff’s offices, Legislators last night unanimously approved expanding the reporting requirements adopted in 2017 from annually to quarterly.  This change comes after last fall’s discovery that former Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota used $3.25 million in funding the County received through the confiscation and sale of assets once used to support illegal activities to pay staff bonuses within his office without legislative approval.  The amendment, sponsored by Majority Leader Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) who also authored the 2017 bill requiring recipient agencies to report annually on asset forfeiture accounts, now requires those agencies to file details of asset forfeiture receipts and expenditures to the County Executive, County Comptroller and County Legislature by March 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and December 15th of each year.

Under law, asset forfeiture funds are considered “off budget” items that are not part of the County’s general operating budget and are held and expended at the discretion of law enforcement agencies in accordance with federal and state guidelines.  However, very little about the funding and its uses have been publicly available.  Bill supporters hope that the increased reporting requirement will shed light onto origins of these funds and ensure its use will be legal, ethical and able to withstand public scrutiny.

"This is an important step toward providing greater insight into the use of asset forfeiture funds," stated Deputy Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. "Quarterly reporting will increase transparency and ensure the funds are spent appropriately and to protect the public."

“After last year’s revelation that asset forfeiture funds were used for employee bonuses, it became obvious that even greater transparency was needed to reassure the public and its elected officials that the money was being used as the law intended,” said Legislator Hahn.  “While I have full confidence that Suffolk County agencies and departments have and continue to use asset forfeiture funds legally, it is my hope that increased oversight will ensure that those uses conform to public expectation and fill a pressing public safety need.”  

“This is a step in the right direction,” said Legislator Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga). Suffolk County law had required the Comptroller to conduct annual reviews of asset forfeiture accounts until 2003, when the policy was changed to allow auditors the ability to focus on other County priorities, however, Legislator Hahn’s 2017 law empowered the comptroller to resume those audits biannually.   

 The bill now goes to County Executive Steve Bellone for his signature within the next thirty days.      

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in LD 05 - Legislator Kara Hahn

"Foiled" by Jeffery Bennett - Photo Image

FOILing Obstacles of Public Access

Posted on: May 25, 2022
Legislator Hahn Recognizes Comsewogue Teacher Dawn Esser as an Educator of Excellence - PHOTO IMAGE

Honoring a Comsewogue Warrior

Posted on: February 9, 2022
"Love Lock" - A photo by Eric Sonstroem

Dedicated to Fighting Addiction

Posted on: November 22, 2021
Suffolk Beaches Get a Gift Basket - Photo Image 3

Suffolk Beaches Get a Gift Basket

Posted on: August 2, 2021
Mission Complete: Site Image of Final War Memorial Updates

"Mission Complete"

Posted on: November 11, 2020
"Water Drain" image by Fabio Sola Penna

A Faster Connection

Posted on: September 10, 2020
Recognition Received Photo

Recognition Received

Posted on: November 10, 2019
Image of a water drop ripple

A Bid for Better Water Quality

Posted on: September 5, 2019
Forsythe Meadow County Park Image

Stewarding Cleaner Parks

Posted on: June 7, 2019
Legislator Hahn Proposes to Tackle Plastic Crisis-IMAGE

Suffolk to Tackle Plastic Crisis

Posted on: February 13, 2019
Commencing Operation Remember

Commencing “Operation Remember”

Posted on: November 8, 2018
Strawless in Stony Brook

Strawless in Stony Brook

Posted on: August 10, 2018

Setauket Girl Scout Earns Silver Award

Posted on: December 7, 2017
olympic lunge local fencer

An Olympic Lunge for Local Fencer

Posted on: July 26, 2017
seal grey (2)

Press Release Archives

Posted on: May 31, 2017