By Travis Fain

Raleigh, N.C. — State contractors stung last month by an audit into allegedly missing seized vehicles pushed back hard against that report Tuesday, accusing the Office of the State Auditor of either shoddy work or ulterior motives.

Not only are all 234 vehicles accounted for, attorneys representing the businesses said, state auditors had records on 181 of them in hand for months before issuing their “erroneous report.” Investigators, attorney Sandy Sands said, failed to follow up, and State Auditor Beth Wood put out “false and defamatory” statements suggesting the cars could have been stolen.

“If the State Auditor’s Office had simply taken us up on our offer to assist and provide more records, this all could have been avoided,” Sands said in a news release Tuesday morning. “Our clients are good, hard-working people whose reputations have been severely damaged and who have received threats as a result of this flawed audit and the statements made by the state auditor.”

Martin Edwards & Associates and Eastway Wrecker Service, the two contractors involved, also disputed the auditor’s report when it was released in September, though in less detail.

Wood’s office stood by its report in its own statement late Tuesday afternoon.

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