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The investigation into Paris Economic Development Corp. was initially described as a forensic audit looking into PEDC’s financials. So how much time has been spent on those financial records? If the investigator’s invoices are any indication, not much.
Defenbaugh & Associates has submitted two invoices, one in April for about $22,000 and one in May for $21,075. The May payment has been withheld until a final report is delivered. That invoice was part of an information packet available during Tuesday’s PEDC board meeting, and eParis Extra acquired the April invoice on Wednesday.
Based on the invoices’ descriptions, of 378.6 billed hours, about a third were actually spent reviewing PEDC policy and financial records, while the rest was devoted to areas such as the business incubator, consultants, the veterans memorial and the diversity program.
A total of $3,750 was charged for looking into individuals, including the largest single line item, $3,000 for “DDBI” of former Mayor Will Baird, former PEDC Director Steve Gilbert and “Pikehurst” (probably former PEDC Chair Pike Burkhart). In forensic circles, DDBI generally means “due diligence/background investigations.” Defenbaugh’s website does not list what all that entails, but a look at other firms’ sites include background checks, identity verification, court and criminal records, business records and asset searches. The other $750 was to review files on Gilbert and Baird.
Review of PEDC finances – including bookkeeping, policies, procedures, financial records, credit cards and incentive agreements – accounted for 113 hours and $13,635. That accounts for 29.8 percent of the billable hours and 31.6 percent of the bill.
The investigation came about after the city received an anonymous letter raising concerns over a deal made in 2010 with Paris Warehouse Southwest and Rodgers-Wade. Review of HWH documents took 11 hours and $1,100.
Investigators spent 97.2 hours looking into R3bi, consultant Richard Seline, the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial and the Diversity Task Force for a total of $14,455. That accounts for 25.7 percent of the hours and 33.5 percent of the bill.
A total of 109.8 hours and $6,582.50 were spent on review and compilation of various documents, or 29 percent of the hours and 15.3 percent of the final bill.
A total of 29.1 hours were spent compiling, drafting and finishing reports for $2,645 — when the lack of a final report has been a hot-button issue in the debates surrounding the investigation.
PEDC was also billed for Defenbaugh taking the matter to the FBI in the first place, at a cost of $350 and two hours.
Five hours were spent on meetings at a cost of $200.
A $400 charge was paid for travel expenses when Danny Defenbaugh came to Paris to bid on the project.