Auditor launches special examination of wrap project

Auditor Adam Edelen (from left) announces that he will launch a special examination into the commercial wrap of the Eighth Avenue parking garage in Block 6 of the TIF district, known as Hitcents Park Plaza, on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, as he stands with Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon and Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson at the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. (Miranda Pederson/photo@bgdailynews.com)

State Auditor Adam Edelen brought a welcome examination into the dealings of the commercial wrap of the Eighth Avenue parking garage in Block 6 of the Tax Increment Financing district, known as Hitcents Park Plaza.

There are too many unanswered questions regarding this matter, and we believe the public has a right to all the answers.

On Wednesday, Edelen announced he is looking into how money was spent on the commercial wrap. Edelen and his auditors will be looking at the use of industrial revenue bonds, how the deal came together and the lack of oversight and transparency of the project.

Preliminary work by auditors has begun to help establish a scope of work for the examination.

Edelen called the wrap project a "muddled morass" and said there are many important questions to be answered.

We couldn't agree more with Edelen on both of those comments.

This project has had insufficient transparency and oversight from the beginning.

We don’t believe we are speaking out of turn, as local elected officials also have said there was not sufficient oversight over the project.

All these problems as a whole make Edelen’s audit that much more important.

Edelen appears to be a very intelligent and serious person, and we take him at his word he will not rush this audit and that he won’t sacrifice thoroughness for speed.

This is a very complex matter. There are hundreds upon hundreds of documents Edelen and his auditors must go through to put all of the pieces of this bizarre puzzle together and form their conclusions.

We are quite aware of the complexity of this matter. This newspaper has gone through all of the documents pertaining to the wrap project we have acquired through open records requests. We would add that obtaining those records from the appropriate agency was not always an easy task. 

It is encouraging to know that officials at the auditor's office have spoken extensively with Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson and Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon.

Edelen's office has stressed that local cooperation into this investigation will be key during the examination. 

We anticipate Wilkerson, Buchanon and other elected officials will cooperate fully with this audit.

Edelen said it best: “You can’t have accountability without transparency."

We say amen to that.

These words are fitting given the situation our community has had to deal with for the past several months.

Answers are needed to everything relating to the wrap project. We believe Edelen will deliver those answers and make them public after a thorough investigation, and if, indeed, he does find wrongdoing by anyone involved with this project, we would hope those people would be held accountable.

We hope no one is at fault, but only time will tell.

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