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DePasquale: Audit of business park sale pushed back to 2014

A state inspection of the sale of Benner Commerce Park has been pushed back until 2014.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told the Centre Daily Times his office’s look into the sale of the property by the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County to a local private partnership could start in February.

The Bellefonte-State College I-99 Partnership is expected to complete its purchase of the industrial park this fall, at a total price of $3.3 million.

DePasquale told the CDT in April that he would look into the park sale in July.

He now says that his office was not able to schedule an analysis of the land transfer.

DePasquale said that early next year, his office might conduct a “jobs audit” of about four land transfers around the state to see “if we’re getting the best bang for our buck.”

The Auditor General’s Office got involved with the sale at the request of state Reps. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, and Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township.

Hanna and Conklin said they heard concerns from the community about the shifting of the business park from the chamber to a private group.

Conklin and his staff met with DePasquale last week regarding the auditor general’s decision.

By email, Conklin spokesman Tor Michaels said: “Rep. Conklin is disappointed about the delay in the audit. There are many land transactions before the General Assembly and we need to make sure we have good policy in place to deal with them.

“The most recent transaction of public land at the Benner Commerce Park on the surface looks highly unusual,” Michaels said.

In April, DePasquale said he doubted his office would uncover wrongdoing in its probe of the sale.

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