Associated Press Published

Audit: Agriculture Dept. Gave $662,000 to Failing Farmer's Market

  An audit says the state Department of Agriculture spent $662,000 in federal money on refrigeration upgrades at a failing farmer’s market.

Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred wrote that the Inwood Farmer’s Market has lost about $100,000 annually over six consecutive years, including 2013. The Berkeley County market was awarded the grant in June 2011.

The report follows an audit detailing problems under former Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass. The main issue stemmed from alleged mismanagement of money in a $5 million revolving loan program.

The second audit detailed other instances of possible fraud and abuse. It was released in a legislative committee Tuesday.

It found possible open meetings law violations within the committee that oversaw the loan program.

The current agriculture administration said the market project was deemed legitimate at the time.