City Leaders React to Convention Center Probe

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

City commissioners and Bowling Green's mayor are still reading through a 117-page report detailing the results of a two-month long independent investigation into the Sloan Convention Center's finances.

The investigation found $298,000 in over billing by former board secretary Steve Catron, and calls for Catron to reimburse the city the full amount. It also says Catron is responsible for coming up with an additional $247,000 that was supposed to be paid to his law firm's escrow account but now can't be found.

Catron was unavailable for comment or reaction because of health problems.

Commissioner Jim Bullington, who has been calling for an investigation since 1999, says he believes the city should be reimbursed for the full $1 million in legal expenses Catron billed the Convention Center Board for over a 12-year period, plus punitive damages. Mayor Sandy Jones says she hopes this can be settled out of court to avoid a long and potentially costly legal battle.

City Attorney Gene Harmon recommended to the commission in November that the city look towards signing an agreement with Catron and BKD accounting to not pursue any further legal action to recoup lost money. Bullington says he believes Mayor Jones supported such an agreement and says he thinks such an agreement would have been passed if he hadn't objected. Mayor Jones says commissioners were only involved in discussions about a settlement and says Harmon's recommendations came as a result of his investigation, which didn't have access to as many documents as the latest inquiry.

Jones says the goal of this latest investigation is to make everything related to the Convention Center public, and that commissioners, if given substantial proof that the city is owed funds, will "go after every last cent."


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