Convention Center Money Missing?

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

Bullington's report says that according to city audits, nearly $23 million was moved through the Sloan Convention Center between 1990 and 2003.

But the report also claims that all of that money was spent improperly by the convention center board.

The responsibility of seeing to it that the amount of money was spent properly was not the responsibility of the highly-paid city employees whose job it was to make sure the money was spent properly," says the former commissioner.

According to Bullington, the city received no excess money back from the convention center revenue from 1990 to 2003.

But since 2004, when the city took over the books for the convention center, the city has been given back nearly 2 million dollars in extra revenue.

Bullington says, "The city ordinance that created the convention center was quite clear about how thing were to be done. The corporation was to submit a budget to the City Commission in March of each year. Well that never happened."

One former convention board member told WBKO, "The board never wrote the first check. Two people had to sign any invoice. All checks went through Steve Catron and U.S. Bank."

Bullington says several of the elected officials at the time, including Chief Financial Officer Kirby Ramsey, City Manager Chuck Coates and City Attorney Eugene Harmon could have known something wasn't right.

"Through memos I have obtained, internal memos, its clear that they knew it was supposed to be done that way, and there was supposed to be money coming back into the general fund."


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