The Internal Revenue Service has closed an audit of about $300 million of Series A special tax bonds issued by the Ernest N. Morial-New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority in 2003 to help finance a convention center expansion.

The closure of the audit was disclosed in a material event notice filed by the authority on Monday.

The IRS had notified the agency that it was conducting the audit in a July 10, 2009, letter.

The NOEHA said in an Aug. 27, 2009, event notice that it was unaware of any specific concerns with the bonds and that the audit appeared random.

The bond proceeds were to have been used to finance the construction of a 1.5-million-square-foot building across from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which was to include meeting rooms, food service areas, and other facilities, according to the official statement for the 2003 bonds.

The new building was to meant to be connected to the convention center by a pedestrian bridge.

The total cost of the expansion project was estimated at $455 million.

The bonds were backed by taxes and were insured by Ambac Assurance Corp.

Kutak Rock LLP and Foley & Judell LLP represented the NOEHA before the IRS. Foley & Judell had been bond counsel on the 2003 transaction.

The managing underwriter for the bonds was Citi. Other underwriters were Banc One Capital Markets Inc., Jackson Securities LLC, Coastal Securities, and Morgan Keegan & Co.

Underwriters counsel was McGlinchey Stafford PLLC and the Godfrey Firm PLC.

Authority officials could not be reached for comment.

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