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State Auditor Investigating CVB Activities?

Ron Williams

The breaking news that the CCVB (Columbus Conventions & Visitors Bureau) was the focus of a possible audit is really nothing new. While the possibility that it was going on is certainly not surprising or breaking news, only the news that auditors have actively been investigating is the breaking news. No official word has been made on the matter from the state auditors office. They neither confirm or deny the possibility of an audit of CCVB activities. Board members Whirllie Byrd and Bernard Buckhalter have long been crying ‘foul’ when it comes to the activities of CCVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter. I’m sure many complaints have been filed to the state. Byrd has made no bones about her dislike of Carpenter. So Byrd has likely filed complaints and others as well.

State auditors have been looking into complaints against officials, boards and activities of this matter for years. It very well could be much-ado about nothing! Not saying it is, but it could be.

A ranking official with close ties to Stacy Pickering’s office told me, Wednesday, that there is no ‘official’ audit/investigation of The CCVB. They didn’t say one might not come to light. Only that, at this time, no official audit/investigation is going on. Again, that doesn’t mean that auditors are not looking into activities of The CCVB.

To my knowledge, Joe St. John broke the story of a possible investigation/audit on the Real Story website on Tuesday. The next day, a story by Sarah Fowler in the Wednesday Commercial Dispatch then blared that “State auditor investigating CVB” where Fowler quoted Byrd as saying, “To my knowledge, the state auditor’s office has been in contact with Nancy Carpenter for an audit of the CVB.” Again, that’s nothing out of the ordinary if complaints have been filed. There has been some checking in the past, and there will some checking in the future!

An audit of any organization could find some discrepancies (especially if they are looking for something specific) or stumble across something overlooked to start with. With the rocky road that this group has went down over the past few years, nothing is off the table at this point.

Benny Turner Dies
Longtime State Senator Bennie Turner, D-West Point, died at age 64 Wednesday. Turner had served since 1992. He was the current chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, vice chair of judiciary and former chairman of judiciary. Turner served all of Clay County, and parts of Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Noxubee.
Turner also owned WTWG radio station in Columbus, where his son-in-law, Columbus City Councilman Kabir Karriem hosts a weekday radio program. Turner had been plagued with a number of health issues for the past several years. His speech was often slurred and his attention span quite impaired in recent times. Turner was widely known and respected in local and regional political circles.

Main Street Names
New Director
The Main Street Columbus Board of Directors announced Wednesday that Nickie Nicholson has been selected as the new Director of Main Street Columbus. Her official first day will be December 10, 2012. The organizations search committee completed the two month hiring process last week.

Nicholson will replace Amber Brislin, who had been director for the past 5 years.

Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com

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