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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

SBA Panel Asks: Who Steered the Money?



In ordinary times, no one pays much attention to the State Board of Administration's audit committee. But in the aftermath of a $14-billion raid on a local government investment pool, the three-member committee on Wednesday embarked on its own investigation of what went wrong.

"Who knew what when?" Asked Melinda Miguel, Gov. Charlie Crist's inspector general and chair of the audit committee.

The panel is being prodded into action by Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who has cited inadequate transparency and a sudden loss in investor confidence after a chunk of the fund's portfolio was downgraded to distressed-asset status in July.

Dscn1789 The audit committee members are (from left in photo) Kimberly Ferrell, chief auditor in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit under Attorney General Bill McCollum; Miguel, the panel's chairwoman; and Doug Darling, director of Sink's accounting and auditing division.

Darling urged the SBA's audit staff to look for emails that would determine whether securities brokers were "advising or pressuring or suggesting" that the state make risky investments.

-- Steve Bousquet

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:10pm]


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