Commission votes down TEE Center forensic audit

Commissioners vote down forensic TEE Center audit

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - There will be no financial audit of the Reynolds St. parking deck and TEE Center, at least not for now.

That decision made during Tuesday night's commission meeting.

Originally, a vote was planned to amend the bid for a forensic financial audit into the properties. This after questions from the public and some commissioners into the validity and alleged criminal workings of the deal.

"We had an opportunity to answer a question of our constituents: 'Is there any wrongdoing that could be considered criminal or not?'," says District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett.

However, a substitute motion was made by District 6 Commissioner Joe Jackson.

"If it's criminal, let's get the D.A.'s office and the GBI involved," he said.

That motion passed, seven to one.

Those in favor of Jackson's motion say there's no need to spend taxpayer money on an audit they say is unnecessary.

"There hasn't been anything brought to the table for us to really look at," says District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken. "It's kind of business profiling, and I think it's time to move on with it. If there's something there, let's get it on the table and deal with it. If not, let's close it out."

Mayor Deke Copenhaver agrees, saying the finance team received high praise at tonight's meeting by an auditor for the 2011 audit, is the same team who worked the finances of the TEE Center deal.

"They applauded our finance folks for doing such a great job with fiscal management," Copenhaver says. "That's the same team that put this deal together. Why would they do something different on the parking deck and the TEE Center than they did with the city finances?"

But Lockett feels the audit is needed, and the public should receive answers to their questions.

"The perception is that something is wrong," he says. "So we want the experts to come in and take a look at it."

And he says despite tonight's vote to go a different route, he says he will bring up the forensic audit again in the future.

"If I could do it all over again, I would do it all over again," Lockett says. "I think there's a need for it."