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Asheville Citizen-Times: Disclosure would ease suspicions

From the Asheville Citizen-Times (4/27/12): It's time to lift the veil of secrecy hiding the findings of an audit report completed three months ago, a review designed to shine a light on what happened to guns, drugs and cash that went missing from the evidence locker at the Asheville Police Department.

Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore has argued that release of the audit, authorized and paid for by the city of Asheville upon the discovery last April that nearly 400 pills of prescription narcotic oxycodone thought to be in the police evidence room were no longer there, could jeopardize an ongoing state investigation. We would respond that withholding the findings of an audit paid for with taxpayer dollars is in violation of the N.C. Public Records Law.

An attorney with the N.C. Press Association agrees with our call for public access to public documents. “A city, county or any public agency can’t contract away the requirements of a public records law,” says Amanda Martin of the Press Association. Martin goes on to shoot holes in the argument that releasing the audit could put at risk a probe by the State Bureau of Investigation, characterizing the report as “naked factual findings” and “an inventory.”

We concur and would like to know some of the details within the audit report’s set of 15 three-ring binders. On April 19, the Citizen-Times submitted official public records requests to both the city and to the district attorney.

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Colin Donohue,
4/30/2012 9:49 AM