The report was issued by acting Rhode Island state auditor Dennis Hoyle Wednesday. It concluded that the institute, which runs youth games in Connecticut and worldwide, could not show how it spent a $575,000 grant it received from the state.
"The institute needs to significantly improve its financial accountability, particularly since it is largely dependent upon grants and other support from governmental and private organizations," it states.
The report also states that the institute, which is based in Rhode Island and headed by West Hartford resident Daniel Doyle Jr., should implement appropriate financial control measures and routine oversight processes and procedures, such as independent annual financial audits.
"Dennis Hoyle did an excellent job in bringing many concerns to light," said Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox, who called for the audit last fall. "However, without the proper documentation from the institute, we are still left with a number of unanswered questions regarding how the $575,000 was spent."
Fox forwarded Hoyle's report to the state police because of the unanswered questions, said Larry Berman, the lawmaker's spokesman.
"They would be the appropriate authority to look into that," he said.
The institute responded to the auditor's report Wednesday through a press release issued by RDW Group Inc., a Rhode Island-based public relations company owned by Doyle's brother.
"We appreciate the spirit in which the Auditor General has engaged in this review of State grant monies provided to the Institute for International Sport," said Michael Healy, chairman of the institute, in the prepared written statement. "Further, we agree with many of the findings within the report and readily admit that the Institute's past financial controls were inadequate."
Healy says the institute has introduced new accounting software and has retained new accountants who are preparing responses to Wednesday's report. The accountants' initial findings are positive and have been shared with the state auditor, he said.
The institute leases land from the University of Rhode Island, but owns two buildings on the property, both of which the institute plans to sell to help pay down debt. One building is finished; the other is not.
The unfinished building is the subject of the audit.
The audit of the $575,000 government grant was given given to the institute in 2007 for the construction of the institute's second building — a space for a new Center for Sports Leadership. The money was spent, but the project remains incomplete.
Doyle says construction on the building stopped because the institute did not get a separate $4 million grant that it was informally promised. That money was expected to cover the programming costs, he said.
The institute estimates that it spent about $200,000 to construct the building, but could only provide the state with cancelled checks totaling $163,400. Vendor invoices, purchase orders or contracts were mostly not provided.
"Normal financial accountability measures appropriate for an entity of the Institute's size were not evident during the course of our review," the report states.
Doyle has said the institute had an informal understanding with state officials that some of the $575,000 could be used for programming expenses. The auditor's report says Doyle provided the state auditor a letter addressed to legislative leaders requesting an amendment to the grant's original terms. It was signed by an institute board member.
The legislative department has no record of receipt, according to the auditor's report.