Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Nebraska Tourism bon vivants in hot water after audit

The State Auditor has released a 79-page indictment of very free spending by the director and staff of the Nebraska Tourism Commission, which included these interesting items:
  • Questionable expenses for a photo shoot across Nebraska in June, 2015 that included alcohol, cigarettes, and mileage reimbursements for trips where gasoline was also billed to the state. The photo shoot also paid $550 to the daughter of Tourism Commission director Kathy McKillip to be one of the models.
  • $44,00 paid to one speaker at the 2015 State tourism conference.  The state also paid for extra meals, and chair massages.
  • No procedures to review purchase orders against contracts, which resulted in expenses $4.4 million over the contracted amount with the advertising firm Bailey Lauerman over the course of three years.
  • Gifts including thousands of dollars meals and alcohol often provided by Bailey Lauerman, which were given to Commission director McKillip, Commission employees, commissioners, and their spouses.
But what brands of cigarettes and hooch, you might ask:
"several bottles of wine, three bottles of Tanqueray Gin, a bottle of Crown Royal Canadian whisky, multiple packs of Coors beer cans, a box of Marlboro Gold Pack 100’s(Cigarettes), and a significant amount of other alcohol purchased during meals while on the shoot.
 AdWeek's Agency Spy column sarcastically noted:
     ...And in a completely unrelated development, Bailey Lauerman EVP and general manager Rich Claussen announced that he will be stepping down from his position to join “a pro-entrepreneurship group” after spending a whopping 30 years with the agency.
     In other news, McKillip said she had “nothing to do” with the agency’s decision to cast her own daughter as the campaign’s star.
     We just hope for the sake of all involved that the work inspires a lot of people to vacation in Nebraska.
 The State Auditor engaged in a bit of snark too:
There was also a nice discussion of possible nepotism in the agency:
The Tourism Commissioners met Tuesday in Omaha — at the Henry Doorley Zoo.

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