NewsOn6.com & Ashli Sims, The News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The State Auditor's Office is not releasing the special audit of Broken Arrow Public Schools on Thursday as expected.
Steve Burrage says that his doubts about the "independence" of the special auditor assigned to the case are prompting him to start over with the auditing process.
"The inappropriate release last week of a draft version of this audit report only compounds my concerns about independence," Burrage said in a news release. "As a CPA, I believe in the Code of Conduct which guides our profession and I cannot, in good conscious, release a report which in any way calls into question our independence."
8/31/10 Related Story: Broken Arrow School Scandal Proving Costly For Taxpayers
The audit was supposed to finally get to the bottom of accusations the school district gave preferential treatment of heating and cooling company, Air Assurance.
A rough draft of the audit leaked to the media last week claimed the district split bids so it wouldn't have to get quotes from companies other than Air Assurance.
"It just doesn't seem like good auditing principles to me," said Mike Rampey, Air Assurance owner. "And so, it would have been nice, since my name was brought up and I'm a big part of this audit, if they came and talk to us about it."
Rampey said he has stacks of proof to back up his company's good name. And he sent a letter to Burrage Wednesday morning blasting the leaked audit as full of inaccuracies.
"Since the auditors appear to be unable to determine who leaked the audit there are two logical conclusions to be made incompetence in the auditor's office or bias in the auditor's office," Rampey said.
The auditor said the leak is being investigated, but he insists he did not cave into outside pressure.
"That is absolutely false," Burrage said. "The Broken Arrow School Board or the attorneys have no influence on the outcome of this audit."
A state lawmaker who's tangled with Burrage before over the delayed release of this audit calls the state auditor's office unreliable.
"It looks like he's trying to throw the person who did the audit under the bus and if he has questions about independence he should look in the mirror," State Representative Mike Reynolds said.
Burrage said he is assigning two different special auditors to conduct the new audit and that they will proceed with "deliberate speed." The attorney general's office requested a second audit into Broken Arrow Schools to investigate possible criminal wrongdoing.
Burrage said that despite the delay of the audit results, the new administration at Broken Arrow Public Schools is already addressing the problems identified in the report that was leaked last week.