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State audit investigates Texarkana, Arkansas financial practices - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

State audit investigates Texarkana, Arkansas financial practices

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TEXARKANA, Ark. -

The City of Texarkana, Arkansas is working to address financial criticisms in a state government audit.  
    
The state legislative audit investigated the spending, contracting and accounting practices surrounding the development of the controversial crossroads business park.  
     
City Manager Harold Boldt has been the pointman for the controversial development of this privately operated Convention Center.

Complaints ranged from improper use of city funds to incorrect procedures by the city manager.

Now a formal review from the state auditor has cited inadequately documented expenses and noncompliance with various state and city codes.

"These guys with that group in the investigative audit didn't find that I did anything wrong, that was illegal," said Boldt.

Boldt, cleared of personal wrongdoing, says none of the transactions were not done in isolation.

"Every agreement, I took to the board," explained Boldt. "Everything that we ever did with the water park or convention center, the board approved."

The audit outlines the problems that began when the city provided incentives to Dr. Hiren Patel, who owns the hotel-convention center and water park.

The report spans from October 2009 to September 2013.

Boldt says he will be more careful in the future and will work to straighten out the problems highlighted in the audit.

He believes the issue has hampered economic development for the Arkansas-side.

"When you have this kind of discussion going on and people hurling things back and forth all the time, what do expect an investor to do, they are not going to invest here," said Boldt.

Mayor Wayne Smith refers to the report as a tool to set the record straight.

He says the city will now have to work together to move forward.

The issues in the investigative audit report were handled by Boldt, the city board and the A&P Commission, which collects taxes on hotel and motel accommodations.

"We all three have done something that did not follow state statute or city ordinances or sound financial procedures or protocol," said Mayor Smith.  

Last September, Prosecuting Attorney Carlton Jones, Representative Prissy Hickerson and State Senator Jimmy Hickey filed the request for the legislative audit.
    
The Miller County Prosecuting Attorney's Office is now reviewing the report to determine what will happen next.

 

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