City councillors passed a motion to prioritize an audit into the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) after it was defrauded of $375,000.

On Wednesday, EEDC announced it had lost $375,000 to a third party that pretended to be one of its clients.

Councillors want the audit to happen this year—not in 2020.

“I want it done this year,” Ward 11 Councillor Mike Nickel said, “because I think people have real concerns and legitimate questions.”

In a statement, EEDC CEO Derek Hudson said: "While initial discussions with the Auditor suggested an Audit in 2020 would better serve the Shareholder due to a number of initiatives that are underway at EEDC, we are more than willing and able to start working with the Auditor today."

The fraudulent transaction happened in late December, and the EEDC went public about a month later. Mayor Don Iveson, who learned about the incident about 10 days ago, was told the investigation prevented the EEDC from announcing it sooner.

Iveson said he is also on board with an audit in 2019.

“I think it’s very timely, given this recent issue.

“Having the city auditor also take a look at EEDC’s internal controls only makes sense in light of this.”

The EEDC has about 1,000 employees in six divisions: Enterprise Edmonton, Innovate Edmonton (which includes Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton), Edmonton Tourism, Edmonton Convention Centre, Edmonton EXPO Centre and EEDC Corporate Services Division.

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett