Fayette County

Lexington Center gets 'clean' audit

An independent audit of Lexington Center Corp.'s finances for the past year produced an "unqualified clean" report, meaning no red flags were raised for questionable expenditures.

"They did a thorough examination and had no issues they felt needed to raise the alarm of the board," said Bill Owen, Lexington Center president and CEO.

The annual audit was performed by the local firm of Ray, Foley, Hensley & Co., which audits numerous Kentucky cities and city agencies. Results were presented by firm partner Jerry Hensley to the center's board of directors Thursday.

In light of spending scandals at Blue Grass Airport and the Lexington Public Library that have brought in state auditor Crit Luallen, Lexington Center this year asked for extra scrutiny of travel and entertainment charges and overall credit card expenses.

The audit showed $50,000 in credit card expenses over the past year by the four employees with Lexington Center credit cards — Owen and three directors. The cards are used "as a matter of convenience," Owen said.

Auditors looked for large sums of money spent and the propriety of each charge, Hensley said.

Auditor Lanny Britain said, "The amounts they are spending on credit cards are below organizations of similar size."

In other parts of the audit, Owen drew attention to Lexington Center liabilities that were reduced by $2 million as the center amortizes its long-term debt.

Also, the center did a significant reorganization of its long-term debt service payments, going from a variable rate that was "very volatile" to a fixed rate for the remainder of the debt obligation, Owen said.

"We were very fortunate to get a low 3.5 percent rate that will result in $6.8 million savings between now and 2022," he said.