The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 26, 2012

War Memorial Arena audit completed

Dave Sutor

— An independent and thorough examination of the Cambria County War Memorial Authority’s financial relationship with the facility’s promoter, SMG, recently was completed.

All involved parties will soon learn the results of the audit conducted by Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC, a regional Pennsylvania firm with an office in Pittsburgh.

Cambria County’s commissioners Mark Wissinger, Douglas Lengenfelder and Thomas Chernisky agreed to pay for the audit when the arena’s former general manager, Mike Silva, resigned in September after spending a little over two years in the position.

“With the change of management, we wanted to baseline where the memorial sat exactly,” said Lengenfelder.

“That’s basically what we were doing. We were looking to create a baseline to understand exactly where we were. Then we can see where the authority wants to go. We’ll understand the pluses and minuses of previous years, what happened, why it happened, and then make it a logical transition into this next period of management.”

Zelenkofske Axelrod is expected to present its findings in the upcoming days.

“Hopefully when we sit down with them they’re going to say that you guys are on the right course or you’re way off course and this is what you need to do to change it, this is the direction you want to head,” said Cambria County War Memorial Authority Chairman Dean Gindlesperger.

The authority undergoes a regular annual audit.

However, the board felt a more in-depth examination – by a company without ties to the authority or SMG – was needed to assist in the transition from Silva to Acting General Manager Tom Grenell, who is also overseeing the arena’s sister facility, the North Central Recreation Center in Ebensburg.

“This was more of a forensic-type audit so that they got into everything. There should have been no stone unturned. ... We don’t want any biased opinion. We want to know exactly where we stand: Good, bad or indifferent,” said Gindlesperger.

Lengenfelder added, “The regular audits that were occurring were not giving us enough detail and information to be able to really get our hands around where this organization stood financially.”