Auditing firm selected to investigate Oklahoma City bombing fund

A Springfield, Mo., auditing firm has been selected to conduct an independent investigation of the management of a fund created for the benefit of survivors of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
by Randy Ellis Published: November 29, 2012

The first phase of the investigation is expected to begin within the first two weeks of December and cost about $14,500 plus expenses, the engagement letter states.

Bombing funds will “absolutely not be used” to pay for the investigation, said Cathy Nestlen, communications director for the foundation. Payment will come from foundation administrative funds, she said.

“The first phase will consist of an on-site assessment including interviews of key individuals involved in the Disaster Relief Fund and a review of selected documentation,” the letter states. “The purpose of this first phase is to gain an understanding of the nature of the claims and make a preliminary assessment of the allegations requiring further investigation and the development of a work plan for the additional work.”

At the conclusion of the first phase, BKD officials said, they will present foundation officials with a range of possible services and estimated costs to be considered in subsequent phases of their investigation.

BKD officials said they understand their investigation will examine “sensitive, confidential, personal information relating to the identities and circumstances of some of the victims, beneficiaries and claimants.”

They pledged to keep such information confidential. But foundation officials said they expect BKD's final report will be made public.

The April 19, 1995, bombing attack on the Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building left 168 dead and hundreds injured.

More than $40 million in donations flooded into various Oklahoma organizations after the disaster. Much of the money was quickly spent, but about $14.6 million eventually was consolidated into the foundation to provide for the long-term needs of bombing survivors.

The foundation since has distributed about $11.1 million for the benefit of 962 individuals through 16,256 transactions, but still has about $10 million because of interest on investments.

Some bombing survivors have been pushing to have remaining funds divided among survivors.

by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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