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IRS audit examines cost of new Cleveland County jail

Despite an ongoing audit by the Internal Revenue Service, a Cleveland County commissioner denied that a $52 million bond issued to a build a new jail has been mishandled.
by Andrew Knittle Published: November 17, 2012

Despite an ongoing audit by the Internal Revenue Service, a Cleveland County commissioner denied that a $52 million bond issued to build a sprawling new jail has been mishandled in any way.

Commissioner Rod Cleveland, who is also a Cleveland County Justice Authority board member, told The Oklahoman he's confident nothing is amiss with the millions in jail money.

“I don't know if you call anything routine when it comes to an IRS audit, but there's nothing there — that we did — that we were afraid of being caught on,” he said.

“But until we get that letter from the federal government that tells us so, we don't know anything else.”

The Cleveland County Justice Authority is being audited by the IRS as it continues to pay off a $52 million bond it issued to build a new jail in north Norman.

The facility, which opened in February and is touted as state-of-the-art by officials, cost only $24 million to build because of the economic collapse in late 2008.

For many large projects that began in 2009, bids were low and millions of dollars were saved as the construction industry suffered mightily through the early days of the recession, Cleveland said.

Documents kept secret

County officials will not release certain documents received from the IRS, citing a state law that allows them to keep the information secret if they expect future litigation.

“It's a routine audit,” said Carol Dillingham, an assistant district attorney for the county.

“Just like a normal person goes through when they are audited.”

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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