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NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

Two years ago, News 8 investigated the subsidies that the state gives to conventions to entice them to Texas.

Now the the state and the City of Fort Worth are looking at how much they give to the National Cutting Horse Association.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, the NCHA is scheduled to get $3.7 million from Texas and the Fort Worth over the next year. That's because competitions like the the three multi-week events the NCHA brings to Fort Worth every year are supposed to generate jobs and tax income for the city and state.

But does the revenue generated justify the subsidies granted?

E-mails obtained by News 8 under the Texas Public Information Act show the accounting used by the NCHA for its claims under the Major Events Trust Fund (METF) are being investigated, and that the reimbursements to the NCHA will be withheld until the investigation is complete.

In an e-mail last Friday, Kirk Slaughter of the City of Fort Worth wrote to NCHA officials and the Texas comptroller's office that the NCHA is under investigation and that "there would not be any METF funding provided to the NCHA until a resolution is reached on the investigation."

Further, the e-mail noted that although the NCHA has received more than $6 million in state money over the past eight years, it would not turn over its audit reports for city and state review.

Cutting horse owners spend millions in Fort Worth every year during the three events held there, according to NCHA's consultant Dr. Gerald Grotta. Cutting horse people are huge spenders, according to his research.

NCHA attendees buy as much as $2 million in boots each year, and $3.9 million on saddles and equipment, past Grotta studies have claimed.

The estimates are made by interviewing people attending the event and asking them what they spend.

NCHA officials declined to be interviewed on-camera. But Rick Ivey, the organization's treasurer, did discuss the e-mails.

He said the NCHA will become much more stringent in its auditing. He said the group is asking its auditor to review claims dating back to 2006.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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