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Land Trust vows to list its finances

Within seven days, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors will have access to all Nevada County Land Trust financial records on the North Star House, a historic landmark whose restoration was kick-started by more than $500,000 in county money.

Hoping to see exactly how its money was spent, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to conduct an audit.

Nevada County Land Trust Treasurer Ron Mathis, whose nonprofit organization is overseeing the site’s restoration, promised full compliance with the request at the supervisors Tuesday meeting.



“We have no problem with (the audit). The books are open to the public in most cases,” Mathis said.

Supervisor Sue Horne said she requested the records in response to “concerns raised in the community.”




Questions arose after the Land Trust, in 2003, hired former Supervisor Bruce Conklin to manage the North Star House restoration, a project he helped finance while in office in 2002. His political opponents have recently criticized the hiring of Conklin, who has resigned from the Land Trust to try again for the District 3 supervisor seat in November.

Money for the project came from the Dryden Wilson bequest, a gift to the county from an Auburn resident. Under terms of the Dec. 24, 2002, contract, the county has the right to review the Land Trust’s use of the money.

The 11,000-square-foot North Star House, located south of Grass Valley, was built in 1905 for the manager of the North Star Mine. It was designed by Julia Morgan, the architect responsible for Hearst Castle at San Simeon.

After taking on the long-neglected building’s restoration, the Land Trust first reported on its progress to the Board of Supervisors Feb. 6 of this year. That day, the nonprofit submitted an annual review of work on the house. The report broke spending down into four general categories: Administration, project management, site security and restoration.

Horne said she was not satisfied with this report, which she called “very brief and very broad. It was very difficult to determine (which) of the tasks were actually achieved.”

An independent auditor will conduct the review, which is expected to be completed within several weeks.


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