Kansas governor requests forensic audit of KBA

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback announced on Friday that he has requested that the Kansas Bioscience Authority submit a forensic audit, including a comprehensive list of all economic records.

This audit request comes amid a current criminal investigation by the Johnson County District Attorney’s office against the Olathe-based authority, which has allegedly misappropriated a portion of its investments, according to CJOnline.com.

Chief Executive Director Tom Thornton allegedly pocketed a $100,000 bonus while over half of the staff, including Thornton’s wife, an administrative assistant, earned a salary exceeding $100,000, CJOnline.com reports.

The KBA, created by the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004, is a $581 million initiative with the sole purpose of advancing Kansas’ leadership in bioscience.

Brownback’s request was met with some reluctance from John Carlin, the leader of KBA board of directors, who said that under the conditions of the audit, Brownback’s administration must respect the integrity of confidential business records regarding companies that receive grants from the KBA, LJWorld.com reports.

“Now they say observers may only see what the KBA wants them to see, and auditors can only look at what the KBA wants them to look at. That is not effective oversight,” Brownback said, according to LJWorld.com.

The KBA maintains it has not acted in any wrongdoing.

"We intend for our forthright transparency to serve as a clear counterpoint to what appears to be a politically motivated missile launch, one which possesses a target but which lacks the true facts to accurately deliver,"  John Carlin, chairman of the KBA board of directors, said, according to CJOnline.com.