Pittsburgh Council seeks audit of sports, stadium authorities

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday advanced a proposed audit that aims to quantify how much the authorities that manage the city‘‍s professional sports venues, its convention center and various parking lots and garages contribute to city coffers.

The resolution calling for the audit of the Sports & Exhibition Authority and the Stadium Authority, which passed the council’‍s standing committee Wednesday and will be voted on by the full council Tuesday, says the financial review by city Controller Michael Lamb will examine “annual revenue remitted to the city from the amusement tax, parking tax, payroll tax, earned income tax, real estate tax and facilities usage fee” from 2009 through 2013.

“This is actually a really cut-and-dry audit in the strictest sense of the word,” said Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, who sponsored the measure after fielding questions from residents over how much money the city derives from its major sports and entertainment facilities. "I thought it would be helpful to have a document that does illustrate that over time."

The audit, which is scheduled to be finished by Dec. 31, also will list the parcels owned and sold by the authorities since 2000, including the date, sale price and purchaser and any ensuing taxes paid to the city as a result.

“The facilities usage fee has come up, especially as we talked about recent concerts,” Ms. Rudiak said, referring to the June 21 Luke Bryan at Heinz Field that city officials said necessitated a massive cleanup operation. She said she was not aware of any existing report from the authorities to the city that provides an accounting of taxes or fees paid.

“I support this 100 percent,” Councilman Dan Gilman said at Wednesday‘‍s meeting. “We have to find every penny that we're owed right now and I think this is a great place to look."

Deputy Controller Douglas Anderson said the controller’‍s staff has met with Ms. Rudiak and characterized the job as ”more of a report rather than an audit.“

Mr. Anderson said the controller‘‍s office would strive to meet the deadline, though he noted the staff also will stick to its schedule of previously planned audits.

"We do want to honor the councilwoman's request," he said.

SEA Executive Director Mary Conturo said the authority will cooperate in ”whatever review or audit the city would like to do.”

Robert Zullo: rzullo@post-gazette.com, 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @rczullo.

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