FBI involved in Rio Nuevo probe - Tucson News Now

FBI involved in Rio Nuevo probe

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - The FBI has seized 10 years of Rio Nuevo records stored at the Tucson Convention Center.

It's thought the records may have been taken by the FBI and turned over to the Arizona Attorney General's office.

The Arizona AG says it has an ongoing investigation into Rio Nuevo.

An general audit last year shows gross examples of misspending on Rio Nuevo projects.

As much as $200 million has been spent so far.

"It rose to the level the FBI and attorney general decided to do something," says Rio Nuevo Board chair Jodi Bain.

The records were locked in a room which was accessible only by city employees. In recent weeks there was concern the records might be compromised.

"Apparently there was communication by someone that somebody from the city was going to enter the room to retrieve something or do something," says Bain.

When approached by the FBI, which said it has a warrant, both Bain and city attorney Mike Rankin gave approval to remove the records for safe keeping.  

The Attorney General's office announced last January that it will conduct a probe into how the Rio Nuevo money has been spent since voters approved the district in 1999 but has made no formal announcement.

That's not unusual. The office will not say one way or another whether it's conducting an investigation.

Bain says the investigation, regardless of how it turns out, could prove to be a good thing.

"This isn't exactly negative. I can actually be helpful," she says.

It's thought a full investigation by the state could answer not only questions about where the money went, but who is responsible for what.

The district and the city have not been able to come to an agreement over whose responsible for property and debt incurred over the past decade.

The Rio Nuevo tax incremental district has been taken over by a new board approved by the Governor and legislature.

Copyright 2011 KOLD. All rights reserved.


Powered by WorldNow