Source: News & Observer

In a review of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, State Auditor Beth Wood found that the head of the North Carolina State Fair, Commissioner Steve Troxler and Troxler’s top aide spent north of $22,000 on unauthorized travel expenses related to the NC State Fair, according to the News & Observer.

According to the News & Observer, “The audit says the three officials violated state rules over the course of at least five years by getting the state to pay for their hotels, meals and more during the State Fair, even though their office is less than five miles from the fairgrounds.”

The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) began raising questions last summer, at which point Commissioner Troxler sought and was granted exemptions for travel expenses. Still, expense reports uncovered by OSA showed Troxler and his top aide charged the state for $199 per night hotel rooms, far exceeding the allowed daily rate of spending.

“Despite already exceeding the daily limit with their hotel rooms, the audit found, the two also expensed more than $600 worth of meals and mileage during the 2018 fair, plus $100 for valet parking, the audit says, and nearly $900 worth of meals and mileage during the 2017 fair,” the News & Observer reported.

Wood suggested in her audit that the three men should pay the state back what charges they accrued beyond the limit, but Troxler and his office refused.

Wood has served as North Carolina State Auditor since taking office in 2008 and operates as “the taxpayers’ watchdog.” Wood ensures the various arms of state government are spending taxpayer money in a responsible and effective way. According to the State Auditor’s website, the department has identified millions of dollars of potential savings under her leadership.

Read the full story on Auditor Wood holding state officials to account from the News & Observer.