The Downtown Reno Partnership was recently reviewed by the city of Reno’s auditor who found three requirements that, allegedly, were not being met.
City auditor Emily Kidd said a “factual analysis” found the DRP’s annual financial audits, a five-year evaluation of the organization and quarterly reports were not in compliance, thereby comprising “three areas of risk.”
The DRP is a non-profit business improvement district for the downtown area that runs the downtown ambassador program.
Kidd gave a report March 9 to the city’s financial advisory board outlining what she called “a few sticky things.”
But the DRP’s executive director, Neoma Jardon, disputed the review. She also said she was not even aware of it until contacted last week by This Is Reno.
“That information is not correct,” she said. “The audits and reports have been provided.”
Kidd admitted the city’s previous revitalization manager had the records.
“Part of the issue I think was a records maintenance process. Because the prior revitalization manager held those documents and was kind of the process owner for everything, it didn’t live anywhere else,” she said. “When he suddenly left, we were unable to easily retrieve those documents.”
That manager was fired a year ago after getting arrested during a domestic dispute. The DRP also has mostly new employees.
But the audit lists the DRP as being deficient. Kidd drafted a memo to the mayor and council last week saying a “due diligence oversight review” was conducted. It has no mention that a city employee had the missing files.
“Additional documents were provided to the auditor by the (DRP) in July 2022 that resolved the report’s findings except the evaluation of the Business Improvement District (BID),” she wrote.
City Manager Doug Thornley also said the DRP provided all the documents they were supposed to provide. He said past communications between the previous city manager and finance director had to be reviewed.
“I think Emily [Kidd] in a vacuum believed that they should look one way, and they looked a different way, and so that attracted her attention,” he said. “The powers that be had determined that format was sufficient to meet the requirements previously.”
Jardon said the memo indicates the DRP is in compliance.
“This memo affirms that the Downtown Reno Partnership is in full reporting compliance and has met its contractual obligations with the City,” she told This Is Reno.
“They’re on it,” he said.
The DRP on Wednesday will present its annual plan and budget to the city council. Although Kidd said the audit was prepared in advance of Wednesday’s meeting, the audit is not on the council’s agenda.
Thornley said that’s because such reviews go to the financial board first. The audit, he said, will appear on a future agenda.