Foren­sic au­di­tor re­view­ing Mile One books

Coun. Sandy Hick­man says ‘an amount of money miss­ing’ prompted re­view

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ASH­LEY FITZ­PATRICK

The City of St. John’s is look­ing deeper into the books of St. John’s Sports and En­ter­tain­ment after the dis­cov­ery of some­thing awry in the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ac­counts, The Tele­gram has learned.

St. John’s Sports and En­ter­tain­ment over­sees the op­er­a­tion of Mile One Cen­tre and the St. John’s Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

“I can con­firm that yes, on pa­per, we found an amount of money miss­ing. But it’s re­ally, re­ally early in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to go into any de­tails what­so­ever,” said Coun. Sandy Hick­man, who has spent the last year and a half as coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the St. John’s Sports and En­ter­tain­ment board and was con­tacted about what had been re­ported to The Tele­gram as miss­ing money.

“We have al­ready had our ac­count­ing staff have a good look at it, and (some­thing not adding up) is there. All of a sud­den, yeah, there’s some­thing there, but we are go­ing to go fur­ther and have our city in­ter­nal au­di­tor — who, of course, never would have been in­volved — maybe he’ll see some­thing we’re not see­ing, our staff are not see­ing,” Hick­man said.

The city’s in­ter­nal au­di­tor is a cer­ti­fied fraud ex­am­iner. He con­ducts re­views for the city much like the pro­vin­cial au­di­tor gen­eral might do for the prov­ince.

“So it’s some­thing we’re try­ing to fig­ure out. Was there a fraud in­volved? There’s a good chance there was, but we don’t re­ally know be­cause we want to (con­clude) this in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore we come to any con­clu­sions,” Hick­man said.

He added he was dis­ap­pointed with word of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion go­ing pub­lic, telling The Tele­gram he be­lieved it could com­pro­mise the process and po­ten­tially any fu­ture le­gal ac­tion.

As for the amount in­volved, while the tip to The Tele­gram in­cluded a fig­ure, Hick­man would not go into any detail.

“It could be a not-in­signif­i­cant amounts of money,” he said, adding, “but we’re not talk­ing mil­lions.”

If the foren­sic au­di­tor finds rea­son to be­lieve there was fraud in­volved, he said, the in­for­ma­tion would be passed to the Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary.

St. John’s Sports and En­ter­tain­ment is re­quired to pro­vide fi­nan­cial re­ports to the city. Hick­man said the an­nual re­port for 2016 has been com­pleted, but he is not sure if it has yet been pro­vided to city hall.

KEITH GOSSE FILE PHOTO/THE TELE­GRAM

Mile One Cen­tre in down­town St. John’s.

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