State audit slams taxpayer-funded NC Rural Center - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

State audit slams taxpayer-funded NC Rural Center

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A new state audit of the taxpayer-funded North Carolina Rural Center says the nonprofit agency failed to provide proper oversight of millions in grants while providing excessive payments to its long-time president.

The audit, released Wednesday by State Auditor Beth Wood, says reporting requirements on grants issued by the center were not diligently enforced and that job creation claims on five grants could not be verified.

Read the state audit of North Carolina Rural Center

"The huge issue here is our tax dollars being granted to create jobs and create infrastructure so that jobs and businesses will come into play," Wood said. "And nobody is monitoring the spending of those tax dollars to ensure that what was promised to be done was ever done."

Gov. Pat McCrory has earmarked $7 million for the center over the next two years. McCrory released a statement reading, "I believe it's time for new leardership at the Rural Center in the roles of president and chairman of the board."

The audit also calls the $221,000 annual salary paid to president Billy Ray Hall as "not reasonable" and questions more than $241,000 in a special account to be paid to Hall if he leaves.

The center is supposed to spur economic development in 85 North Carolina counties. Hall says the center maintains "the highest degree of ethical and fiscal integrity."

"What if you are in that rural area where the job was supposed to be created and it didn't happen. That means there are people there that could be working that aren't," Wood said.

House lawmakers say they are reviewing the audit today and taking it into consideration while they work on the budget.

House Speaker Thom Tillis said in a statement, "I am deeply troubled by the findings in the audit of the Rural Center.  Based on the Auditor's report, it is apparent to me that the time for change at the Rural Center has come."

Senate majority leader Harry Brown previously raised red flags about the center and said the audit "doesn't surprise me."

"I think it is like a lot of nonprofits when you fund them and you have very little oversight," Brown said. "I think it has a tendency to evolve into what has happened with the Rural Center."

Brown added, "Overtime the rural center has done a lot of good things in rural North Carolina. But I think the lack of oversight created a problem and I think those problems are starting to surface now."

Brown said the Senate will take the audit in consideration when determining funding to the center.

"We are still negotiating how that will come out," Brown said, "we have not made that decision yet but it is definitely on the table and has been flagged."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mysterious "woman in black" spotted in Tennessee

    Mysterious "woman in black" spotted in Tennessee

    A mysterious figure is capturing the attention of social media. She's been nicknamed "the woman in black" and she's been spotted in different parts of east Tennessee including Madisonville, Athens, Sweetwater and now Morgan County.
    A mysterious figure is capturing the attention of social media. She's been nicknamed "the woman in black" and she's been spotted in different parts of east Tennessee including Madisonville, Athens, Sweetwater and now Morgan County.
  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
  • Local Contractor Sued Over School Construction

    Local Contractor Sued Over School Construction

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:48 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:48:12 GMT
    Four minority subcontractors have sued Rives Worrell, a Savannah general contractor, who they say exploited their protected status to win the Hesse K-8 construction project.
    Four minority subcontractors have sued Rives Worrell, a Savannah general contractor, who they say exploited their protected status to win the Hesse K-8 construction project.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 06:56:56 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.