Audit critical of Nevada tourism contracts

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm •  Published: April 28, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Division of Tourism awarded contracts without following proper procedures and made payments exceeding maximum amounts, legislative auditors said Monday.

The audit presented to a panel of lawmakers found that in half of the contracts examined, payments exceeded maximums outlined in the contracts by more than $660,000.

Auditors said that 37 percent of payments tested lacked adequate supporting documentation. For instance, the report said the division prepaid $485,000 for television commercial production costs and the invoice stated merely, "television advertising production." The audit noted that the contract does not allow for prepayment of services.

Other invoices included similar, vague language to describe services performed, the audit said, and two vendors that acted as brokers for purchasing traditional and digital advertising were paid a combined $7 million but did not have state contracts.

"This audit is anything but hazy and indistinct," said Assemblywoman Maggie Carlson, D-Las Vegas, chairwoman of the legislative audit subcommittee. "A number of issues in this audit I believe were very serious and need to be addressed."

A lot of the criticism centered on contracts tied to the state's campaign to develop a state brand and international marketing campaign unveiled a year ago by Gov. Brian Sandoval. The brand, "Nevada: a world within, a state apart," includes television and web advertisements featuring a rendition of Cole Porter's 1940s song, "Don't Fence Me In," sung by The Killers, a Las Vegas rock band.