Ford Center Bill above Board ; Analysis of Books Turns Up Accounting Errors

By Martin, John | Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current), November 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

Ford Center Bill above Board ; Analysis of Books Turns Up Accounting Errors


Martin, John, Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


An independent review of construction accounts for the Ford Center - the $127.5 million arena that opened two years ago in Downtown Evansville- unearthed no proof of accounting irregularities but suggested city government take follow-up steps to cut down on unintended errors. The City Council voted in March to have the analysis conducted because of concerns about bank reconciliation records on the arena project. At the time, council members said they wanted "six to eight" transactions analyzed. They cited a few cases of what looked like double payments to contractors.

Those issues were brought to the council's attention by David Garrett, a local resident with an accounting background.

RGL Forensics of Chesterfield, Mo., the independent firm Council members hired to investigate, produced a report stating, "It appears that there were a number of accounting errors that occurred in the books and records associated with the Ford Center construction project and the accounting procedures relevant to the postings in the ledger accounts of the project."

RGL's report distinguishes between "errors" and "irregularities," which would mean acts of intentional misstatements of account balances. The firm said it found no proof of the latter, though it could not discount the possibility, and the city controller office's response to issues raised by Garrett "were reasonable and appropriate."

The firm's report points out the city's problematic transition to a modernized accounting software system in January 2012 and suggested the city "consider an accounting controls and procedures audit to improve the accuracy of its accounting system as well as increase the possibility that material misstatement in the financial accounts would be discovered in the normal course. …

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