The $400,000 adjustment | Rock Candy

Friday, July 23, 2010

The $400,000 adjustment

Posted By on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 4:09 PM

That's the amount the Arkansas Arts Center has had to add to its negative bottom line for the fiscal year ended June 30, thanks to some irregular bookkeeping, and perhaps spending, by its former financial manager.

The Arts Center's books have gotten a "complete clean-up," board member Mary Ellen Vangilder said, by staff, including new deputy director for operations Laine Harber. A three-year look back found that former operations chief Rocky Nickles had inappropriately capitalized items that should have been expensed — for example, adding the cost of paint to the value of fixed assets rather than including it under expenses. It was revealed earlier in the week that Nickles had charged to the Arts Center's account since 2007 a total of $378,684, of which only $287,995.15 can be validated as proper Arts Center charges.

That puts the Arts Center in the hole a little over $2 million for the fiscal year. It had anticipated being $1.7 million short, thanks to $750,000 in promised gifts that never materialized, but were put on the balance sheet in '09, and other shortfalls. The Arts Center's debt stands at $2.7 million, the bulk of that from loans to the Arts Center from the private foundation that contributes to its operations.

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