Hillsborough County Commissioners aren't happy after audit of lavish Regent Center

11/02/11 Sarah Curran
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Hillsborough County Commissioners are still trying to get to the bottom of how county money was spent on the opulent new Brandon Community Advantage Center called the Regent. Today, Commissioners heard from the director of county audits for the Clerk of Courts, Dan Pohto. But a county audit of the lavish center didn’t answer many questions commissioners, like Victor Crist, had.

“A question. I mean if there were public dollars tax dollars expensed in the development of this facility. You’re saying we don’t have the option in going in and determining in the way and fashion of which they were appropriated?”

Pohto: “No, Im saying my office, we have already done that for the 2 and a half million the board approved for those. The FEMA money and the state money I don’t have authority over that. And I think there was a letter sent up to the state to ask them to look over the state money, Auditor general.”

Pohto said the audit concluded 35-thousand dollars was used questionably and commissioners want answers.

Crist: “I suggest we send them a bill”

County administrator Mike Merrill: "Send them a bill for 35 thousand? We have, we have. And we are pursing that. We haven’t had any response but We’ve sent them a letter."

Crist: “Then we need to notify them that it is accruing interest and penalties. You know, At this point the money is owed to us and they need to make contact and I mean at least go on some kind of payment plan. But they need to realize the moneys are owed and interest is accruing.”

All together the county put $2.5 million into the $7 million, 30,000 square foot building. The remaining funds came from FEMA and the state. Commissioners voted unanimously to send the Regents board a list of questions outlining concerns and requesting a response.

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