Miller challenges calls for more Rio Nuevo spending

The woman who first asked for an FBI investigation into Rio Nuevo, Ally Miller, is now calling for greater transparency and tighter controls on finances before moving forward with spending on Tucson’s Rio Nuevo District. “Dwelling on the past will keep us from moving forward, however moving forward with the same level of incompetence and lack of financial controls is a disgrace and will result in more of the same,” said Miller.

Miller is challenging the business leaders and the politicians who answer to them, who are more than ready to move forward with more spending. “I have a significant problem with this approach. Every citizen has an ownership interest in the government via taxes paid each year and entrusted to elected officials, and there is an expectation these funds will be properly managed,” said Miller.

After reviewing the forensic audit findings of the West of I-10 projects performed by Regier, Carr and Monroe, LLP’s CPAs, it is clear both the City of Tucson and Rio Nuevo Board lack the financial controls to ensure public monies are accounted for properly, says Miller. She cites an excerpt from the findings of the Rio Nuevo Westside forensic audit: “There were significant gaps in the information provided by the city. The missing documentation limited our ability to test the support of many of the expenditures incurred. Based upon procedures performed, we identified $33, 849,702.77 of questioned costs. For the purposes of this report a ‘questioned’ cost is defined as: a cost not supported by adequate documentation, a cost that is unnecessary or unreasonable, or a cost that is a violation of the law, regulation or contract.”

Many financial experts, and accountants, like Miller, who has her MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Business, have raised the question as to whether the requirements in the Sarbannes Oxley Act (SOX) should apply to government accounting. Sarbannes Oxley, currently applies to publically traded firms to enhance accountability to the shareholders. Sarbannes Oxley imposed the risk associated with honest financial reporting directly on the management of corporations. Corporate executives and senior management are now held personally liable for the accuracy of financial statements and are required to establish an independent audit committee.

“With the Rio Nuevo scandal and millions of dollars missing, coupled with the inability of the City Finance Director to produce financial documentation supporting the millions of dollars in expenditures, it has become abundantly clear proper financial practices and internal audit controls are sorely lacking in both the City of Tucson and Rio Nuevo TIF District,” said Miller.

Miller says the public’s trust has been broken, which is why she decided run for the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

“During my investigation of Rio Nuevo and after meeting with procurement officers who were unable to produce contracts, statements of work or documentation supporting expenditures, it was clear proper financial controls were not in place,” said Miller. It is at this point Miller contacted the FBI and Attorney General’s office to investigate the various projects of Rio Nuevo.

It wasn’t long after that, Miller decided to run for office. She says that she saw the need for qualified people to run for office who could read and understand the numbers before them.

Miller is not alone. The Tucson Tea Party, whose focus continues to remain on smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and greater transparency in government has also been paying close attention to the recent activities of the reconstituted Rio Nuevo board. Ralph Kayser, primary organizer of the Tucson Tea Party attended the recent board meeting and warned the board, “We are an engaged electorate…We will be watching everything you do.”

Related articles:

Rio Nuevo audit “res ipsa loquitur”

“Steve K” lashes out in defense of establishment

8 Comments

  1. Jeff Hill, treasurer of the Rio Nuevo Board, testified at the June 12th meeting there isn’t enough TIF revenue to cover existing bond debt obligations. The money is gone.

  2. Ally Miller is right. The City’s internal audit unit is a sham. An uncertified internal audit manager, no internal audit reports online, run unprofessionally contrary to internal auditing standards. Steve Koz and his council crony mates never address this. Why?

  3. Politics as usual may have just hit the fan. Thank you Miller for putting your hat in the ring and running for public office. You’ve got my vote.

  4. I sure hope we can get Ally elected and replace some of the other supervisors too. They have run our county into the sewer. 90% of the land is owned by the government and the county keeps buying. No taxpayers to pay for the roads. Yesterday they gave away a boat load of money for bicycle paths.

  5. Ally has the experience, knowledge and courage it will take to lead the city out of a miry pit. She has authority on the Rio Nuevo situation and that’s what the city needs: fearless leadership! Ally Miller has demonstrated as a private citizen what it means to lead; just think of what she can do for Pima County! Vote Ally Miller for Pima Co. Supervisor!

  6. I was at the Board of Supervisor meeting and pages and pages or giveaways, especially $350,000.oo to TREO. This just shows that Tucson with Rio Nuevo is even worse. Do you think it is because some of the same players are involved. Ally Miller is such a great researcher and knows all about Budgets and Contracts,etc. No one else can compete with that background. She needs to be on the Board of Supervisors for District 1. we need new ideas and not just the same old same old. As the old adage goes “doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is called INSANITY”

  7. Way to go Ally! She has been the one fighting for the taxpayers since the beginning. We need her on the Board of Supervisors if we are going to see real change in Pima County!

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