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Terre Haute Audit Finds Mayor Did Not Misuse City Funds

An audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts has found the Terre Haute Department of Redevelopment failed to abide by state law regarding some of its expenses in 2013 and 2014.

The audit was initiated because the head of the Department of Redevelopment Cliff Lambert last year accused Mayor Duke Bennett of misusing funds designated for redevelopment projects to  make up a payroll shortfall.

The inquiry found the city did not mishandle any money, but, instead, found the Redevelopment Department had several expenses it did not include in its approved budget.

The expenses came from a total of 15 different funds from January 2013 to June 2014.

The TribStar reports that in a news conference with reporters this week, Bennett, who has consistently said he is complying with state law, said the audit findings should indicate city officials can move on from the issue because the problems cited should be easy to fix.

"It's totally unfortunate that it's played out the way it has," Bennett said. He also called the audit a "huge waste of money." It will end up costing the city "thousands" of dollars, he said. It has also cast the city in a negative light around the state, he said.

"It's turned into a political issue for whatever reason," Bennett said. The whole matter could have been handled "in-house," he said.



In response to the audit findings, Lambert says he believes the Board of Accounts overlooked a state law that limits how money from tax increment finance districts, which goes toward redevelop, can be used, WTHI reports.

Here's the report on the audit findings, and the State Board of Accounts earlier audit of Terre Haute finances in 2013.

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