PEDC Chairperson releases statement on forensic audit

PARIS, TX -- The chairperson of the Paris Economic Development Corporation is speaking out after a meeting was cancelled with a forensic investigator.

Board members were set to hear a presentation from Defenbaugh and Associates regarding a forensic audit of the PEDC, but it was cancelled.

Chairperson Rebecca Clifford released this statement earlier today:

"A special called meeting of the Paris Economic Development Corporation was scheduled for June 16th for the board and public to hear a presentation by Mr. Danny Defenbaugh on the PEDC Forensic Investigation. According to Mr. Defenbaugh, a discussion was subsequently held among Mr. Defenbaugh, Mayor Frierson, Mayor Pro Tem Grossnickle, City Manager Godwin, and City Attorney McIlyar. After this discussion, Mr. Defenbaugh informed me that he would be unable to attend the meeting. I was also notified that PEDC board members Ms. Ballard and Mr. Grubb were unavailable to attend the meeting. With no quorum present for the meeting and no presenter, I had no choice but to cancel the meeting.

Although the investigative reports have not been furnished to the PEDC, the reports were requested by and made available to Mr. McIlyar as part of his preparation for an open records request that has since been withdrawn. At this time, no further investigative work is being performed. The investigator is waiting on direction from the city council. The forensic investigation and Defenbaugh and Associates' contract are the subject of the city council executive session scheduled for June 23rd. If these reports are made available to the city council, they should also be made available to the PEDC board. In addition, Defenbaugh and Associates should be allowed to finalize the incomplete reports and present the final reports to the city council, the PEDC board, the media, and the general public."

The city council is expected to address the audit at Monday's council meeting.