Tax-increment financing awarded to potentially visitor-generating private projects through Colorado’s Regional Tourism Act was done without oversight and, in some cases, without justification, according to a report released Monday by the Office of the State Auditor.

The long-controversial RTA program from 2012 through 2015 committed to awarding as much as $445.2 million over the next 45 years to five projects — none of which have opened and two of which have not even started.

The $81.4 million award of financing to the most prominent RTA project, the Gaylord Rockies hotel and conference center in Aurora, prompted lawsuits from outside groups.

Stephanie Copeland, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, told the Legislative Audit Committee Monday that other recipients of financial incentives threatened lawsuits against the state if it tried to ramp up its oversight of them.

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