Many of the same people who ran the former leasing program are also in charge of the new donated-car program.
After the meeting, Bowen promised to look into the purchasing practices within the program, and "take whatever action is necessary."
Bowen did not discuss Parsons or the ongoing investigations with legislators. He said state officials, not reporters, should investigate allegations of wrongdoing.
"I ask our friends in the media to allow the state to conduct [the investigation], then discuss it," he said.
Bowen focused on the leasing program's successes. For example, about 60 percent of all participants made their lease payments and were able to keep their cars, he said.
About a third of all cars the program bought were junked or sold for an average of $300 within two years. But the average car was bought for only $2,300, and some program participants didn't take care of their cars, he said.
"There is success and there is failure in this program," Bowen said. "I believe we have done the best we could with what we had."
To contact staff writers Scott Finn and Eric Eyre, use e-mail or call 357-4323 or 348-4869.