Missouri State Auditor launches audit of St. Louis Regional Sports Authority

Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick _ (Photo courtesy Tim Bommel - Missouri House Communications)
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Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick announced that his office will thoroughly examine the decision-making of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority (RSA) regarding the expenditure of over $16 million in taxpayer funds in an effort to retain the Rams football team in St. Louis. The audit, which began with an entrance meeting with RSA officials on Tuesday, May 21, will also scrutinize the management of approximately $519 million received in a settlement after the Rams’ departure.

Before his tenure as State Auditor, Fitzpatrick spearheaded efforts to investigate the RSA’s decision to spend $16.2 million on hiring an architecture firm and various attorneys and consultants to keep the St. Louis Rams. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, he requested former State Auditor Nicole Galloway to initiate an audit. When no action was taken, Fitzpatrick helped secure funding for an independent review of the RSA’s spending decisions. However, the review was never conducted due to withheld funding from prior governors and unsuccessful procurement efforts.

Fitzpatrick aims to provide taxpayers with answers regarding the millions of tax dollars spent on consultants and legal services in the failed attempt to keep the Rams in St. Louis. “The Sports Authority is a public entity using public dollars, and it deserves to be held to the highest possible standard as we make sure the millions of dollars the RSA spent were used responsibly and in accordance with state law,” Fitzpatrick stated. He noted that the RSA receives approximately $24 million annually in city, county, and state funding. “I have led efforts in the past to examine how these dollars were spent, but we’ve only been able to obtain minimal details about the expenditures. My hope is that our audit will finally give taxpayers the full picture of the how and why of the RSA’s decisions to spend more than $16 million in the failed bid to keep the Rams.”

The audit will also assess the distribution and use of funds from the Rams’ settlement. The RSA managed approximately $519 million from the settlement, and while the 11-member board, along with St. Louis City and St. Louis County, deliberated on fund allocation, the money sat in non- and low-interest-bearing accounts for over 10 months. Fitzpatrick stated that the failure to invest the funds in higher-return investments likely resulted in a significant loss of interest earnings. The audit team will closely examine this decision and other aspects related to the management and allocation of the funds.

Individuals can provide confidential information for consideration during the audit of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority by contacting the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline at 800-347-8597, by email at [email protected], or by visiting this link.

(Photo courtesy Tim Bommel – Missouri House Communications)

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