Prolonged Audit Tests Campground’s Patience
For more than a year, Pettibone Park Resort, a 240-site Good Sam park near La Crosse, Wis., has been operating under the cloud of a city-ordered audit, according to the La Crosse Tribune.
“It’s just this big weight on our shoulders,” said campground operator Mark Pretasky.
And 14 months into the review, there’s no end in sight.
Kristin Pretasky said she has called Wipfli, which is handling the review, and the city attorney, and that neither will take her calls. Wipfli CPA Mary Jo Warner, declined to comment to the newspaper.
The prolonged audit is frustrating, given his business’s full cooperation in turning over boxes of records, Mark Pretasky said. “Whatever they asked for we gave them. We’ve given them everything, but week after week just keeps going by,” he said.
Parks director Steve Carlyon said the financial firm still is compiling information from other sources. “Once you get the information from (the operator), then you validate the information and then you crosscheck the records,” he said.
The La Crosse Common Council ordered the financial, operations and efficiency audit in September 2007, concerned the public property was being used beyond the terms of the lease to support lucrative RV sales.
“Where were they for the 14 years where we didn’t make any money,” Pretasky said last week. “Don’t come to me now and say we’re making too much money.”
Questions have also been raised about public access to the park.
The intent of the audit, Carlyon said, isn’t to cause the campground any injury but to make certain the land is being used as A.W. Pettibone intended when he donated the land for public use in 1901.
City officials first asked to see the company’s records after the operators asked for a 25% rent reduction. The campground lost potential business because of construction of the second Mississippi River Bridge and enforcement of flood plain rules, Pretasky wrote in a letter to the city’s Legal Department. It also took on significant debt to repair flood damage, he wrote.