Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Wednesday that the city won’t renew its contract with the Raleigh Business and Technology Center after an internal audit turned up financial discrepancies.

The city opened the Business and Technology Center downtown in 2000 to serve as a business incubator, providing inexpensive office space, networking opportunities and other support to start-up companies. Raleigh has provided the center with annual appropriations of $162,000 in recent years to help finance its operations.

Auditors found some questionable spending by center officials, including $940 paid to the executive director and $18,720 paid to a trust account that had no supporting documentation. Also, about $25,000 in cashier’s checks cannot be accounted for, according to the audit.

The audit also questioned transactions between the Business and Technology Center and various board members. Some board members loaned the center money, and the center loaned $13,000 to a church where a board member serves as pastor and $290,000 to a group founded by the executive director.

City officials have turned the audits findings over to Raleigh police and the Wake County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal prosecution, McFarlane said.

The Business and Technology Center has been ordered to vacate its offices at the intersection of Wilmington Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard by the end of the month. She said city officials would review how to provide business incubator services in the future.

Web Editor: Matthew Burns