Audit of HealthFirst deal a good move

Mayor Jim Gray did the right thing asking State Auditor Adam Edelen to have a look at the peculiar real estate transactions between HealthFirst Bluegrass and developer Ted Mims and his associates.

Edelen announced yesterday that his office will soon begin an audit of the tangled deal that has HealthFirst agreeing to purchase the property from Mims' group, committing to rent before it's occupied, and paying Mims to manage the deal.

What we know so far, thanks largely to the tireless reporting of the Herald-Leader's Mary Meehan, is that HealthFirst has paid over $250,000 in rent and management fees (Mims' fee alone is $15,000 a month) for a property at 496 Southland Drive with little to show for it.

HealthFirst has been in danger of losing an $11.7 million federal grant for a clinic because of the inaction. That money was set aside solely to expand health services for people in our community who desparately need them but can't afford them.

The bottom line here is that any dollar wasted, or worse, is one that won't be used to provide that care. It's the right thing to have a full, public accounting of this deal.