This post has been updated

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles sent a letter to the executive director of the Perpich Center for Arts Education, urging her to hand over information his office is seeking, saying a failure to do so currently makes her "noncompliant with state law." 

The auditor is conducting a review of the Perpich Center, whose leader Sue Mackert has faced some criticism for leadership of Woodbury's Crosswinds Arts and Sciences School, which was taken over by the state arts agency in 2013. 

The controversy with the school was first reported by Minnesota Public Radio. 

The Office of Legislative Auditor is given wide berth by state law to conduct investigations of state agencies and institutions that receive state money.  

The auditor "has never received this kind of non-responsiveness by a state agency," Nobles writes in the letter to Mackert. Nobles threatens to use his subpoena power, which he said the auditor has never been forced to resort to. 

Nobles then provides a deadline of May 25 to hand over documents. 

The law cited by Nobles provides that a judge could find Mackert in contempt of court if she does not comply with the information request. 

A spokeswoman for the Perpich Center declined to comment except to say they are complying with the information request. 

Pierce McNally, chair of the Perpich Center board, said the auditor is actually conducting two simultaneous audits, a financial audit and a governance audit.

"We’re a state agency that operates in a lean fashion," McNally said. He called dealing with two separate audits in the middle of a school year "burdensome" and a "difficult exercise under constraining circumstances. 

In a letter dated April 4 to Nobles, McNally asked that one of the audits be deferred 60 days until the academic year was finished. McNally said Nobles did not reply in writing. 

Regardless, the agency is now complying with the information request in quick fashion, he said. 

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