PHOTO: Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler announced earlier today that he had finished Bentley's exit audits with nothing missing. (File Photo, Jim Zeigler | Facebook)
By Staff Reports
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – State Auditor Jim Zeigler has finished the required exit audits of four state gubernatorial properties following the resignation of former Governor Robert Bentley.
Zeigler and staff accounted for all items of state property in the historic Alabama Governor’s Mansion located on Perry Street in Montgomery, the Governor’s Office in the capitol, the Governor’s beach house at the Gulf and the Blount Mansion, in Wynfield, east Montgomery.
Zeigler said, “The four property managers handling the Governor’s properties are well-organized and did a good job getting ready for the audits under expedited circumstances.”
Bentley resigned as governor on April 10, which triggered the requirement of the four audits by the state auditor's office. Zeigler says his small staff, cut from 12 to 7 by budget cuts since he took office, postponed scheduled audits to complete the required exit audits following the change of gubernatorial administration.
“We saw no problems in the four locations. Gov. Bentley left the state properties in good shape. His property managers worked well with us,” Zeigler said earlier today.
In a report to now-Governor Kay Ivey, Zeigler certified that all 257 state assets in the Perry Street Governor’s Mansion were accounted for. They had a total cost of $891,682.54.
In the report on the Governor’s Office in the state capitol, Zeigler certified to Ivey that all 249 state assets in the Governor’s Office were accounted for. They had a total cost to the State of $245,848.32.
In his audit of the controversial Governor’s beach house, Zeigler and staff were searching for 98 state assets worth $101,259.80. Instead, they located 100 state assets worth $105,191.12.
Zeigler says the difference were items that had not been included in the state database for the beach house. He says the beach house had not been audited in over 18 years, as it stood unused and deteriorating.
Zeigler says that the responsibility for the four locations now switches from Bentley to Governor Kay Ivey. She has already begun work in the Governor’s offices and is expected to move into the Perry Street mansion soon.
In the audit of the Governor’s office, Zeigler located the infamous, “Wanda’s desk,” which had become a topic of controversy in the investigation of former Gov. Robert Bentley’s relationship with his then-senior policy adviser Rebekah Mason. Bentley had expressed concern that Wanda’s desk was too close to the door to his private office, risking that assistant Wanda Kelley could hear what was going on behind closed doors.
Zeigler says the desk was indeed moved away from Bentley’s private office entrance and then moved six times total. It is now in use by a mid-level staffer in the Capitol basement. The desk is worth $1,736.
The State Auditor’s Office is required to inventory all state items of, “non-consumable personal property” worth $500 or more.