State Auditor Susan Montee points to the Missouri Technology Corporation’s various conflicts of interest, unregulated spending and unwillingness to work with state government in an audit just released.
Montee claims the Missouri Technology Corporation became downright hostile when the audit began, an audit that found former executive director Rob Monsees, Bryan Cave and Associates Law Firm and a consulting firm skirted state rules to secure employment for all of them.
Then there’s the money. Montee says the MTC received millions from the legislature, but much of it sits idle.
Montee says documents are missing and expenses unaccounted for … some expenses that are over the top, such as a four-day car rental for a leisure trip to Memphis, $2,000 plane tickets for first-class seating, high-dollar dinners and more.
The quasi-governmental body set up by the Legislature to boost economic development has been largely ineffective in doing so, Montee says.
She describes a soiree of tangled relationships that resulted in the better good for all involved, but says they are obviously a conflict of interests: board members also served on the board of organizations receiving money from the corporation; executive director Rob Monsees was negotiating a job with a consulting firm at the same time that consultant was negotiating a contract to work with MTC. Bryan Cave and Associates were chosen as the corporation’s law firm when in fact, had they used the state formula for hiring representation, Cave would have been third on the list … not first.
Montee said she originally planned to release the audit in October, but when Jason Hall (a former Cave employee) “threatened” her staff, saying he was working with Tom Schweich (also a former Cave employee) on audit details, she decided to not push for the requested documentation.
She was running against Schweich for the state auditor’s spot at the time and thought the details of the audit would be heavily politicized at the time.
The hostile attitude finally changed, Montee says, and the MTC ‘has developed a new conflict of interest policy and is developing a plan for better fiscal policy and oversight.
This audit is likely the last Montee will present to and for the state as Schweich beat her in the general election.
Update Dec. 6:
After the Missourinet reported the allegations contained in the audit, Rob Monsees contacted us, disputing a number of points in the audit and in the story. Monsees denies he skirted any state rules in securing employment with MTC and claims the MTC board simply exercised its prerogative in setting aside criteria it approved earlier in hiring Bryan Cave.
Monsees denies conflict of interest allegations in his search for new employment while serving as MTC executive director. He tells the Missourinet in an e-mail that he sent out feelers after being fired by the Nixon Administration and that Finistere Ventures happened to be among those in his network. Monsees adds that he fully disclosed those contacts.
Monsees declined an invitation by the Missourinet to conduct an interview to more fully flesh out his disagreements with the audit’s conclusions.