State Board Selling Credits To Cover Possible Losses

Sunday, September 10th 2006, 11:37 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Capital Investment Board has set aside $12.7-million to cover possible losses from venture fund investments.

For the first time, the board has sold state tax credits provided by the state Legislature.

A state audit found the board's Venture Investing Program was $31-million in debt, including investments of about $13.5-million.

The program -- which was designed to be self-funding -- had an additional $24-million in unfunded commitments to venture capital firms.

The Capital Investment Board was created to spur private investment in Oklahoma companies. It provided financial backing that helped bring the New Orleans Hornets to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina.

Board President Devon Sauzek said the board is pleased with the overall performance, but investments connected to the dot-com industry that crashed in the late 1990s have been difficult.

The audit also criticized the board for investing in only 18 companies that had a presence in Oklahoma out of the 160 businesses that received money from the program.