Local News

Police seize computers, files from Raleigh business incubator

Posted July 10, 2013 3:50 p.m. EDT

— Police have seized a half-dozen computers and various files from the Raleigh Business and Technology Center following a city audit that turned up financial discrepancies.

Investigators searched the offices of the business incubator on Monday, including the office of Lawrence Wray, a former assistant city manager in Raleigh who serves as chairman of the center's board of trustees.

Auditors found some questionable spending by center officials, including $940 paid to Executive Director Robert Robinson 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 Robinson.

Robinson resigned a week before the audit was released, Wray said.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said last week that the city won't renew its contract with the Raleigh Business and Technology Center and ordered the center to vacate its office on South Wilmington Street by the end of the month.

The city opened the 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.