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Battle Over Terre Haute TIF Funds Continues

We're continuing to follow the controversial and complicated transfer of money from the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission into other city funds.

Late Wednesday afternoon the Redevelopment Commission passed a resolution asking city controller, Leslie Ellis, to provide them access to their 19 bank accounts. That access would be read only. It does not include withdrawals or deposits.

Commissioner Cliff Lambert says he has an e-mail from earlier this year in which Ellis agreed to provide Lambert with balance sheets to the accounts. NBC 2 has viewed a copy of the e-mail, but we have not been able to verify that the city controller sent it.

Lambert also says he received a statement Wednesday showing a $600,000 transfer from redevelopment funds into a city payroll account.

"The developers, the business and the commercial entities that invest in those TIF areas, they do so with the idea that their tax dollars are going to be used to improve the infastructure, new roadways, side walks, you name it, to provide economic development assistance so the state law absoltuely prohibits the use of TIF funds to pay for anything other than TIF capitol projects," Lambert said.

We spoke with Mayor Duke Bennett by phone on Wednesday. He re-affirmed that he checked with the State Board of Accounts before moving any money. He also says all of the redevelopment money is still available. The Redevelopment Commission must submit an invoice to gain access to those funds.
   

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