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NY Cracking Down At Jones Beach

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A state audit of the concerts at the Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre criticized the promoter for giving away $4.7 million in tickets over two years, including hundreds to the state’s theater manager, without any formal policy.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which owns the theater, said all financial “miscalculations” had been resolved and the comptroller’s recommendations followed.

The audit looked at the operations of Beach Concerts Inc., a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, that promotes concerts at the 15,200-capacity shed.

The company complied with most of the financial provisions of the contract that generates more than $3 million for the state each year through fees and a percentage of ticket sales.

State Comptroller Alan Hevesi told New York Newsday, “The Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation should be more diligent in managing its contract with Beach Concerts in order to maximize state revenues.”

The major point of contention was a practice of distributing free tickets to help fill seats when sales lag. In 2002 and 2003, Beach Concerts gave out 102,727 free ducats without any written policy on the subject. Park officials plan to work with Beach Concerts to develop a system to account for the complimentary tickets and how they are issued.

State Theater Manager Joseph Mandanici received six tickets for each of the 96 concerts in 2002 and 2003, a total valued at $25,417, according to the audit. Hevesi said Beach Concerts told the auditors it was a long-standing practice to provide these tickets to the manager, who would give them to patrons complaining of broken seats or other problems, despite there being no provision in the contract or policy covering the tickets.

Mandanici told auditors he discarded most of the free tickets, Hevesi told the paper. When auditors examined 120 tickets, they found that although the manager said he had used only 20, scanners showed that 48 had been used.

Following the audit, parks officials instructed Beach Concerts to cease the practice of distributing free tickets to the manager, and referred the matter to the state inspector general’s office, which replied that the “investigation did not conclude that Mandanici sold or otherwise improperly used the…tickets.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers