November 28, 2012 11:23:04 AM
Sarah Fowler - [email protected]
The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau is under investigation by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor.
CVB board member Whirllie Byrd confirmed the investigation Tuesday morning.
"To my knowledge, the state auditor's office has been in contact with Nancy Carpenter for an audit of the CVB," Byrd said. Another member, who asked for anonymity, confirmed that the CVB is being audited.
Byrd directed any further questions to Carpenter, the CVB's executive director.
Carpenter acknowledged that there is an ongoing investigation but declined to elaborate.
When questioned about the nature of the investigation, Carpenter again declined to comment but laughed off the notion the auditors office was involved due to her alleged misuse of the company vehicle, which has been an ongoing point of contention among board members.
Questions about the company vehicle were the latest in a string of hot button topics surrounding the day-to-day operations of the CVB.
An SUV was provided to Carpenter as a company vehicle. Upon reports that her spouse was driving the vehicle, new guidelines were put in place that stated the vehicle was for professional use only and not available for private use.
Sources close to the CVB said while they were not aware of the nature of the investigation, it allegedly began in July with two investigators from the state auditors office interviewing key CVB board personnel.
Laney Grantham, the press secretary for the state auditors office, would neither confirm nor deny the investigation.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.