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   A new audit is raising concerns about a Missouri program that provides tax incentives for developers to clean up contaminated old business sites.  

   The state has authorized more than $185 million in Brownfield Remediation Tax Credits for 115 projects between the 2003 and 2013 fiscal years. About 80 percent of those projects were in the St. Louis area.  

   State Auditor Tom Schweich released a report Thursday giving the program a "poor" rating.  The audit cited weaknesses in oversight, saying the Department of Economic Development has failed to hold down costs and has allowed conflicts of interest.  

   In a written response attached to the audit, DED officials say they've worked to keep costs low and in March published newly proposed rules for the program.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's auditor is raising concerns about state payments to subsidize child care costs for lower-income families.
 
Auditor Tom Schweich criticized the state Social Services Department for not having enough quality control over the payments. The findings were included in an audit issued Monday of nearly $12 million in federal funds received by Missouri.
 
Schweich found that one-third of the payments reviewed by his office were not supported by proper documentation or were not in compliance with department guidelines.
 
The audit also questioned five welfare cases where benefits were paid to recipients who might not have been eligible for the program.
 
In a response included with the audit, the department says it "partially agrees" with Schweich's conclusions on the child care payments. It agrees with the audit's welfare findings.
Published in Local News
Friday, 24 January 2014 03:53

Art Museum audit finds no major problems

   The St. Louis Art Museum is well managed and fiscally sound.  That's what auditors are reporting to the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District, the body that oversees property tax disbursements to five, regional cultural institutions.  
   The results of the Art Museum audit are a far cry from the last two audits commissioned by the District.  A 2011 audit of the St. Louis Science Center pointed out five-figure executive bonuses and too many vice presidents.  A 2012 audit of the History Museum raised concerns over a questionable land deal and vacation buy-back for the former museum president.
   By contrast, auditors found no major problems with the way the Art Museum is run. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the examination of the Art Museum revealed an institution with a clear chain of command among its several boards, a litany of policies to account for sales and donations, and enough cash in the bank to pay its bills 16 times over.  
   The Zoo-Museum District oversees the disbursement of about $70 million in property taxes to the Missouri Botanical Garden, History Museum, St. Louis Science Center, Zoo and Art Museum. 
 
 
Published in Local News
Friday, 10 January 2014 16:51

Audit criticizes regulatory board vacancies

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A new audit says Missouri has too many vacancies on several advisory and regulatory boards.
 
Friday's report from State Auditor Tom Schweich says 27 percent of seats on boards overseen by the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration were vacant as of June 2013. Vacancies are filled by the governor, an insurance department official or the board itself.
 
Five of the 37 boards examined lacked enough appointed members to make a quorum during meetings. The report also found 63 percent of the appointed board members served beyond their term expiration date.
 
In a response included with the audit, the department says it will continue to work at filling vacancies.
 
Overall, the department received a "fair" rating, the second lowest on the auditor's four-part scale.
Published in Local News
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A new federal report says Mississippi officials accepted unsupported population growth estimates in developing a plan to use $653 million in federal Hurricane Katrina recovery money for water and wastewater facilities, including some that may not be needed.
 
The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General also questioned appraisals used to buy private land.
 
In June 2012, The Associated Press reported on concerns raised by residents and officials concerning the population estimates and the use of eminent domain to acquire private land for projects that may not be needed for years, if ever.
 
Among other things, the report recommends that Mississippi put procedures in place so that future projects are based on "objective and relevant population data."
Published in National News
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 07:37

Audits forthcoming on 3 Mo. tax credit programs

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says he will have reports coming out soon on some of Missouri's biggest tax credit programs.
   Schweich says he hopes to release audits early in the 2014 legislative session on tax credits for developers who build low-income housing, renovate historic buildings and clean up contaminated old business sites.
   Missouri waived $144 million of taxes during its last budget year because of the low-income housing credits. Developers redeemed nearly $79 million in historic preservation tax credits and more than $6 million in Brownfield remediation tax credits for work on contaminated sites.
   Lawmakers are to consider new limits on some of those tax credit programs during their session that starts Jan. 8.
   Schweich said he wants the audits out early enough that lawmakers can use the information.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A new audit questions whether hundreds of Missouri welfare recipients are living out of state or using benefits for alcohol, tobacco and gambling.
 
The report released Tuesday by State Auditor Tom Schweich (shwych) looks at about $96 million of benefits paid through electronic cards in 2012 for a program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
 
The audit found 366 cases in which recipients used a total of $461,000 of benefits exclusively out of state for at least three months. Although nothing prohibits out of state use, the report says that may indicate the welfare recipients no longer live in Missouri.
 
The audit also found about 1,600 cases in which $261,000 of benefits were used at locations appearing to be associated with alcohol, tobacco, gambling or adult entertainment.
Published in Local News

   MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) - A metro-east airport that has never turned a profit since opening with great fanfare 15 years ago continues to lose money.

   The Belleville News-Democrat reports an audit shows the St. Clair County-owned MidAmerica St. Louis Airport last year suffered a $3.8 million loss. That's despite boosting revenue by $2.2 million from additional capital funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state.

   The airport near Mascoutah got $5.6 million in county funds to subsidize its operations. That brings to $28.7 million the county has funneled into the airport over the past five years.

   J.W. Boyle & Co. auditors anticipate the county will continue to subsidize the airport "in the near future."

   MidAmerica has struggled since opening in 1998, and critics persistently have labeled it a $330 million boondoggle.

 
Published in Local News
Friday, 04 October 2013 04:20

STL County Health paid $3.4 million to

   An independent audit of St. Louis County operations shows Edward Mueth collected $3.4 million from the St. Louis County Health Department before killing himself last month.  

   Mueth shot himself the day before he was to meet with his bosses at the County Health Department to discuss invoicing irregularities regarding his company, Gateway Technical Solutions.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that it's still not clear what goods and services Mueth's company actually delivered to the health department over a six year period.  

   The audit, delivered to the County Council Thursday, found that the county had approved equipment purchases and leases from Gateway Technical Solutions at prices that were well above retail.  

   The audit had been commissioned before Mueth's scam came to light.  A police investigation into Mueth's financial dealings with the Health Department is ongoing.

Published in Local News

   The FBI is investigating a former metro-east official accused of embezzling more than $750,000 over the last 10 years.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an audit by Alton accounting firm Kenneth E. Loy & Co., LLC has determined that former Moro Township Supervisor Donald Flack embezzled more than $100,000 last year alone.  But exactly how much was taken won't be known until the forensic audit is completed in September.  

   Auditors say charges against Flack are likely to be filed soon.

   Flack resigned May 14th when trustees confronted him about the missing funds.  

   Moro Township covers a rural area of Madison County northeast of Alton.

Published in Local News
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