Audit Blasts Tour of Missouri, Peter Kinder

Categories: Politics
peterkinder4.jpg
Peter Kinder
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder voted to give $2.5 million in taxpayer money to the non-profit company running the Tour of Missouri bicycle race -- even while he served as the company's chairman.

And that's a conflict of interest, says the state auditor. In a newly released audit of the Missouri Division of Tourism, Missouri State Auditor Thomas Schweich takes the tourism division -- and Kinder -- to task in a number of areas.

Kinder served as chairman of the Tourism Commission, which administers the state tourism division's $20 million annual budget, until November 2009. (He is still a member.) But though Kinder has blamed Democrats for some of the other bad headlines about him this year (pantless party, anyone?) it's gonna be much harder to do so in this case: Auditor Schweich is a fellow Republican.

The audit criticizes the commission for spending more money than it has, failing to properly oversee its contractors and paying its advertising agency large lump sums that were then "passed through" to other vendors -- an action that the auditors believe reduces transparency.

But it's the Tour of Missouri that seems to take up the most space in the audit.

The bicycle race was held from 2007 to 2009, drawing elite racers from all over the country. It was considered Kinder's pet project -- and, financially, a big success. (Organizers claimed it generated $30 million for the state's economy, even as it only cost the Division of Tourism $1.5 million annually.) The race moved to Colorado this year after the Tourism Commission, no longer under Kinder's control, declined to fund it. Kinder's people blamed Governor Jay Nixon.

The audit doesn't get into whether the race was a moneymaker. But it does pinpoint a number of troubling areas in Tourism's management of it:

* More than $3.2 million was paid to the Tour of Missouri without "defining what costs were allowable, requiring a list or documentation of actual expenses, or providing penalties if Tour of Missouri Inc. did not follow contract terms.

* Kinder did not abstain from voting on the funding of the Tour of Missouri, despite his role as chairman of the non-profit company running it. He never disclosed that role on his state-mandated disclosure forms. And the auditor found that "at least some commission members" were not aware of his role.

* The tourism division paid at least $87,000 for an individual to "perform coordination duties" for the Tour of Missouri. The commission had voted to give a lump sum to the Tour; apparently some members were not aware that they were also funding a state employee who worked on the event.

* The tourism division did not receive financial reports from the non-profit running the Tour of Missouri in 2009 and 2010. There was so little oversight that the division never even got a budget for the Tour.

* The tourism division did not perform any independent economic analysis on the Tour, nor did it set performance goals or measures.

Governor Jay Nixon had previously asked accountants to take a look at the Tour's books. They found a number of questionable expenses, including nearly $20,000 on a kickoff party and more than $20,000 on a wrap party at J Bucks in Clayton.

And it's worth nothing that Kinder's failure to disclose his management of the Tour of Missouri non-profit company could put him in legal hot water: Omitting a fact like that from disclosure forms is a class B misdemeanor, which carries up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

The auditor's report identifies a number of other improprieties unrelated to the bike race, including that the tourism division paid its advertising agency a staggering $586,056 for website development, which was not in the scope of its initial bid solicitation, "without soliciting bids or showing the rates were competitively established."

And, the audit said, two other Tourism Commission members also failed to recuse themselves from budget decisions that led to taxpayer money being given to entities they represent. Those members, Marcia Bennett-Hazelrigg and James Divincen, represent local tourism agencies that received money from the commission.

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Lord Byron
Lord Byron

Q. What has two wheels and no seat?

A. Peter Kinder's bicycle.

KITTY
KITTY

Way to go Sarah! Thanks for another article on the continuing saga of Peter Kinder. I was having Kinder withdrawl once again. And thanks for not showing him with that whore from Verlins!

Tired of the Kinder stories
Tired of the Kinder stories

Ahhhh the Kinder hate orgy continues. Which RFT staff members mom slept with this guy?

Anonymous
Anonymous

You paid for this asshole's drinks and lapdances, and you know what you got for your money? "Family Values."

Tired of the kinder stories
Tired of the kinder stories

Actually we got the Tour of Missouri which provided increased sales for small businesses of Missouri, and  international exposure for our state.Did it cost a little, yes. Did the program run in manner that appears to be shaky, yep. Did small bsuisniess in Missouri gain 33 million dollars during that week (in a recession at that), well what do ya know they did. But hey if you want to continue doing nothing to bring the word Missouri to the lips of people with tourist dollars to spend, that's your choice.

I was anonymous before you
I was anonymous before you

The revenue generated isn't for the state. It comes in the form of hotels and meals and gas and etc... Therefore asking a small business to save for something that is the tourism bureaus job is kind of ridiculous.

Do you think we will ever see a story by the RFT that exposes this behavoir by a left leaning politician????? Nice assumption of my political leanings by the way, but you sir or ma'am are wrong.

Anonymous
Anonymous

If it generates so much money and has corporate sponsors then why do us taxpayers have to chip in to bring it here? Why don't they try saving the $1.5-2.5 million out of that $30-odd million in revenue from the previous Tour to launch the next one or raise it from the sponsors?

And you don't see a problem with a politician pushing a program, paid by taxpayers, through government that he's on the board of and stands to make a profit in? Again, he's taking your money and putting it directly in his pocket. Aren't you against "sharing the wealth" and supporting lazy ass deadbeats?

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

This man is our current Lt. Governor and this is a current audit release which found several serious issues with how the Tour of Missouri's funding was managed by the Tourism Commission. If this isn't news, I don't know what you call news.

This is definitely information the public should know.

Perhaps if Kinder stopped committing actions such as those detailed in this report, the RFT wouldn't need to mention him as often. Or better yet, when he's no longer in office, out of sight, out of mind.

Tired of shelley powers
Tired of shelley powers

Really Shelley really.... so you are telling me that the public looks to a 2nd rate entertainment publication for its serious political news....... Why would they when the legitimate news publication in town ran this story first and didn't forget to include Mr Nixon's involvement as well. You keep looking for your serious political information in a publication that is owned by the same people who own backpage.com where you can purchase hookers and strippers just like the ones that their "journalists" love to smear Kinder with.

Tired of smelly powers
Tired of smelly powers

 Ironic as you cant refute a thing i said... but you did disparage me for calling it like most people see it.

You do realize you can dislike a politician while simultaneously disliking those who relentlessly attack them.

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

Well, I guess we can say that Sarah did something right, to bring out the people sputtering spit all over their computer screens in an attempt to disparage the publication (and therefore this story).

When you can't refute the news, attack the source, eh? And, doing so anonymously, so people can't figure out who of the five-people-still-loyal-to-Kinder you are.

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