Sen. Ritchie Responds to Stipend Fraud AccusationsPosted: Updated:
There are accusations that north country state senator Patty Ritchie and other lawmakers got thousands of dollars in stipends they weren't entitled to.
Ritchie was one of the seven named in a New York Daily News article Friday night, first reporting she took pay for being a chairperson of a state legislature committee she is not the chairperson of.
7 News talked to Ritchie Saturday. She said she received $15,000 for being the vice chair of the Health Committee. The NY State of Politics Blog by Spectrum News reported the stipend Ritchie received was a chairperson's pay.
"When the article came out I reached out to leadership and asked if there were anything issues and they assured me that everything had been done legally," Sen. Ritchie said.
Ritchie said she doesn't touch the stipend paperwork.
"Probably a week after I accepted the position it was approved that I would have the stipend for the health committee, but outside of that I did not fill any paperwork out. I do not make any decisions when it comes to stipends," Sen. Ritchie said. "That comes from the leadership."
While it appears there's nothing illegal about the stipends being paid out, watchdog groups like Reclaim New York are saying things like "Let's call this what it is: fraud."