Comptroller Rejects Plan To Buy $12.5M Helicopter For Gov. Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY – The state comptroller has rejected a non-bid contract by the state police to buy a $12.5 million helicopter that could also be used to ferry Gov. Cuomo, it was reported Tuesday.

The police sought to acquire a used Sikorsky S76-D in the first expansion of the 13-copter fleet since 2002.

But auditors for Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli noted that the 2013 model it wanted to buy was outfitted with a “deluxe VIP interior group” and there was no explanation how it could be modified for law enforcement and rescue missions.

“It is unclear how this helicopter could be efficiently used for these other missions,’’ the state comptroller’s office wrote to the State Police.

Police officials argued that the copter had a range of 378 miles, allowing it cross the state without refueling, and was the only one that fits its specs at the price.

A new model, officials said, would have cost $4 million more.

“This helicopter is the first to be purchased by state police in nearly 15 years, will be done so at a significant savings to taxpayers, and be able to fulfill a ‎greater range of missions, as well as have a greater capacity, than the aircraft it is replacing,” State Police spokesman William Duffy said.

“We met with the Comptroller’s Office last week and addressed any and all questions. We’re in the process of providing additional documentation and have every reason to believe this ‎purchase will be approved.”

In March, the most recent month available for the governor’s public schedule, Cuomo used a state helicopter for 12 flights.

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