GRAVENHURST — The Town of Gravenhurst will be asking the province to pay for most of a $96,000 forensic audit commissioned to examine the way the town was billed for the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre expansion project, Mayor Paisley Donaldson said last week.
“What that split is at the end of the day, I don’t know,” she said. “Whether they pick up 100 per cent or 75 per cent, at this point I don’t know, but we are asking them for some compensation back.”
In the interim, the $96,788 audit by KPMG accounting firm is being funded by unbudgeted funds from the town’s operational budget, she said.
“These sorts of reports cost money,” Donaldson said. “It’s cost the municipality a lot of money that we weren’t anticipating because of an accusation and again, we are the victim.”
The town commissioned the report in the wake of a Toronto Star story that claimed The Dalton Company siphoned $1.8 million from the centennial centre project.
The Dalton Company has called the story “untrue” and later filed a legal complaint against the newspaper.
Donaldson said the town intends to share the forensic report with the province, but wants it to cover some of the costs.
Because of the potential for future litigation, the public won’t have a chance to see the audit.
Reading a statement from KPMG, Donaldson said the audit has identified “no serious problems” with respect to billing “associated with certain cost categories used by The Dalton Company.”
KPMG has also indicated the firm’s forensic work is ongoing with respect to other cost categories on the project.
It’s the second report commissioned by the town that has revealed no major irregularities in the pool project. The town initially spent more than $21,000 on a cost consultant’s report that indicated Gravenhurst received a fair price for the project, though not the lowest possible price in some sections.
Donaldson said so far, the municipality has been on the hook for the costs associated with investigating the allegations of impropriety surrounding the centennial centre expansion project.
“At this point, it hasn’t cost (the province) anything,” she said. “We’ve been supplying them with all of the reports. If they didn’t want to see (the reports) that’s another story, but they’ve asked to see all of these reports so we’re asking them for some money.”
The province, too, wants to protect its investment in the $21 million project, she said.
“They don’t want to be funding a project where there potentially could have been fraudulent (activity) taking place,” she said. “So they want to make sure that when the payments start coming that we’ve done our homework and there’s no fraudulent activity.”