Liens, Looming Audit Put Texarkana Business Park Under More Scrutiny

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 12:00 am  

“Some comments cannot be printed due to the fact this letter may be read by small children,” the directors wrote.

Shortly after Boldt’s rehiring, three Texarkana officials requested an investigation of Boldt’s financial dealings by the state Division of Legislative Audit in Little Rock. The letter — signed by Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Carlton Jones, Arkansas Rep. Prissy Hickerson, R-Texarkana, and Arkansas Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana — specifically asks for an investigation into Texarkana’s spending, contracting and accounting related to incentives put into Crossroads Business Park.

“These financial incentives were paid directly to the developer of the local convention center and Holiday Springs Water Park,” the letter said. “These funds are pledged from the A&P account and various other general revenue accounts.”

Some of the specific issues included:

• Transfer of $584,500 in May 2012 from Texarkana's Water Utilities fund into the city's general fund and then to Patel, all on the same day.

• Contracts and invoices paid without supporting documentation.

• Lack of a clear record of ownership of the parts of development. Some of the property is owned by Patel, and some is owned by the city.

Boldt told the Texarkana Gazette at the time that he “had no problem” with the audit. Two days later, Smith announced that Legislative Audit had accepted the request.

Its findings are expected to be heard later this month.

In October, Smith wrote a letter, co-signed by the same three officials who signed the audit letter, requesting an opinion from the Arkansas Attorney General on Boldt’s use of Advertising & Promotion Commission funds. No opinion had been issued as of last week.

Meanwhile, the water park and convention center have been rumbling along while the city waits for the liens, lawsuit, legislative audit and AG’s opinion all to work through the system.

Smith said there’s not enough data yet to determine how successful the city-assisted elements of Crossroads have been.

 

 

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