Sept. 20, 2019 4:38 p.m.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. has sent a letter today requesting BKD, LLP to immediately issue a public statement retracting their report regarding the County’s public safety sales tax, commonly known as COMBAT.
The letter comes after a meeting this morning between County staff and BKD representatives about the numerous inaccuracies, omissions and misleading statements within the published report.
During this morning’s meeting, County staff pointed out dozens of errors included in the report that could have been avoided had BKD simply consulted and involved the Executive’s Office in the process. County staff were informed today that the report released earlier this week was actually the fourth draft provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, with the first being provided in May. BKD stated that they had assumed the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office was sharing those earlier drafts with the appropriate people to ensure the information was accurate. In addition, BKD acknowledged errors in the report, including their failure to accurately update revenue numbers that were included in the County’s annual audit, which notably, was also performed by BKD.
“While I appreciate BKD’s acknowledgment of some of the serious errors in their report, that alone will not undo the damage that the public release of this misinformation has done.” White said. “The people of Jackson County should be able to rely on the facts contained in reports like this, but unfortunately, politics always seems to trump the facts in Jackson County.”
Numerous times in the report it states that the COMBAT administration was not consulted about the decisions being made, but shockingly, the COMBAT administration during that time period was never contacted by BKD to ask if that was true.
County staff were also alarmed to hear that despite the report’s very first page stating that the report was not to be released nor referenced without both BKD’s review and approval, including the posting of the report on any website, that the Prosecuting Attorney had failed to do so prior to her releasing the report.
County staff continue to review the report for additional errors and are committed to working with BKD, and others, to ensure that all inaccurate information is corrected. Until that time, the County Executive says the community should not rely upon the contents of the report.