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CJ reports: Audit finds TransPark finances open to corruption; former director running for Congress

Don Carrington reports for Carolina Journal:

A scathing report from N.C. State Auditor Beth Wood released Wednesday, April 24, found the accounting methods used by the N.C. Global TransPark Authority were so bad that “fraud could occur and go undetected.”

The executive director of the GTP during the audit period, Allen Thomas, is a Democratic primary candidate for the open seat in the 3rd U.S. Congressional District. Early voting is under way for the April 30 primary.

The audit covered the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. Thomas became head of the GTP in July 2017 and resigned from his position March 25 before the audit was complete.

Auditors found the lack of management oversight and cooperation led to inadequate internal controls over financial reporting and significant misstatements. “The Executive Director and Controller (management) did not implement a proper system of internal control to ensure the financial statements were accurate and complete.”

Specifically, auditors found the financial statements didn’t match accounting records, and management couldn’t explain the differences. An entry for $454,407 was recorded to balance financial statements, but management wasn’t able to provide a basis for the entry. Operating expenses were overstated by $1,268,205, or 75 percent of the final audited balances. Beginning balances were misstated by $89,893, even though the state controller provided management the correct amount.

While leading the GTP, Thomas posted regularly on his Instagram account, including photos from domestic and overseas trips he took to Las Vegas, Thailand, and England, among other places. It’s unclear if he paid for this travel with GTP funds.

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