Rio Nuevo board orders forensic audit

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Its time to uncover the truth, that's the message from Thursday's Rio Nuevo board meeting.

After tens of millions of dollars spent and nothing to show for it, the new board is taking major action to fix years of failure.

"This raises lots of questions in my mind," said Rio Nuevo board member Jonathon Paton.

The list of questions so long now, the Rio Nuevo board says enough is enough, it's time to act.

"We need to find out the truth we need answers and we need to do it quickly," said Paton.

You can see it on their faces, frustration, disbelief and a lot of head scratching.

"I've been in public office six years and this has got to be one of the most outrageous things I've ever seen," said Paton.

The district spent a total of $20 million on just two parcels of land, Mission Garden and the Missions Site/Origins Park.

"There's nothing out there but dirt and weeds," said Ally Miller from the Pima County Tea Party Patriots.

Both lots are empty, with nothing to show for the money spent.  And board members want to know what exactly happened to the money.

The board ordered forensic audits on the Mission Gardens/Origins Park and the Depot Garage Plaza. Plus they unanimously voted to cancel their contract with developer Garfield Traub.

"I'm very pleased there's a board who's willing to take this on and do something about it," said Miller.

Board members made it clear this board is no longer a rubber stamp to the City of Tucson.  Their job, they say, is to answer to Tucson taxpayers.

"It's about restoring public trust in the entire process," said Paton during the meeting.

Thursday's actions are just step one in that process.  The Rio Nuevo board is set to meet again on August 18.