An audit report released by the North Carolina State Auditor claims to show a lack of proper accounting and financial reporting by managers and the board of the Global TransPark (GTP) in Kinston.
Former GTP Executive Director Allen Thomas, who is also a former Greenville mayor, left his position at GTP on March 23rd to begin his candidacy in the upcoming special election for the North Carolina 3rd Congressional District.
The audit report alleges that Allen Thomas and other managers of GTP are responsible for a “Lack of management oversight and cooperation resulted in inadequate internal controls over financial reporting and significant misstatements.”
It also says the GTP “Authority’s Board of Directors did not establish policies or sufficient monitoring mechanisms to ensure timely and accurate financial statements.“
The audit says, although it found no evidence that any fraud occurred at GTP, the issues it found could lead to undetected fraud within GTP and could also mislead GTP investors.
In response to the audit, Allen Thomas gave the following statement to WNCT:
“It’s no secret the Global Transpark —was an underperforming asset for many years, without clear direction and had been dormant of activity.
When I was asked to consider taking it over 20 months ago I was aware of it’s reputation but— I saw great potential for Eastern North Carolina and the entire state.
I would be inheriting an operation with outdated systems, limited resources and staff dysfunction.
For years there had been no executive director, no economic developer, no marketing and a number of open positions. NCGTP had been an after-thought of previous administrations.
As soon as I stepped in and we launched into increased activity and new projects at NCGTP it became clear we would need better systems and a higher level of expertise at the Controller position.
After consulting with the finance committee and leadership we began all the processes that state government requires to make these changes.
We replaced the Controller with a new financial director and modernized systems to support increase of activity.
Every year NCGTP receives a state audit review. It is standard practice. The same Controller we had to replace had performed five previous audits without findings. There was no reason to assume this would be any different. Once it became clear the Controller was underperforming we removed the Controller, made the necessary changes and proceeded accordingly. The audit from that year reflects those changes. Growing pains of upgrading a non-performing asset into a performing asset.
In this same period, we also created $73M in new investment at NCGTP, the most jobs created in a decade with double the average salaries in the regional. Launched global marketing. Announced first new multi-million in new construction projects and new aerospace jobs in years.
The NCGTP also provided a tremendous public service to the region during this same time period during Hurricane Florence hosting 2,500 first responders, military and swift water rescue teams from 35 states flying and delivering over 5,000 missions to rescue citizens and drop supplies all across Eastern North Carolina during Hurricane Florence and the flooding that followed.
We appreciate the audit findings which support the changes we made and look forward to the significant projects and activity in the pipeline at NCGTP for the foreseeable future bringing new jobs and new advanced industries to Eastern North Carolina.”
CLICK HERE to read the entire 59-page audit report.