Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Monday, July 4, 2016

Stay tuned: ABC7 Amarillo investigates the AEDC

ABC7 Amarillo’s investigative team has done another great service to the community. On tonight’s Nightside at 10 p.m., investigative reporter Niccole Caan kicked off a week-long series on the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. The series caps a months-long investigation of this taxpayer-funded agency. That’s right. A five-day series. And, in TV promotion parlance, it’s something you’ll see only on ABC7 Amarillo.

What triggered this investigation? Several months ago, a confidential source gave the investigative team a box of more than 700 pages of AEDC receipts and other documents from 2013 and 2014. When the ABC7 reporters Caan and Kendra Hall, who also worked hard on this series, got 960 pages of records from the AEDC May 24, they confirmed the first set was genuine by matching a large number of receipts and the handwriting. That satisfied the team of the authenticity of the confidentially supplied documents. In all, the reporters reviewed 1,660 of pages of documents, with most of the pages having copies of several receipts.

Tonight, the station reported on the Amarillo Economic Development Corp.’s stonewalling, trying to avoid being accountable for taxpayer money, 99.6 percent of which comes from the taxpayers. And it will show that precious little oversight exists for how the agency spends taxpayer dollars. Later in the week, ABC7 Amarillo’s investigative team will give viewers a detailed look at travel expenses, hotel costs, food items and some unusual expenses.

It’s no exaggeration that these numbers will make your head spin.