OpEd: We decided to look further.
Now that my team’s had a few hours to digest the Lauderdale Lakes response to Commissioner Stacy Ritter‘s call to arms (aka a State’s audit), here’s what they told me.
We decided we had to look deeper on this.
The city’s answers (and yes it was a City answer no matter if the CRA signed off on it) are full of water. CRA Chair Levoyd Williams just does not want the State to dig in his and Hazelle Rogers shit.
What is not said- Kessler in the forensic audit wanted to go deeper but they shut him off. Letter mentions three employees involved in the use of funds no longer employed. City fired former CM Fain Taylor for lack of confidence-nothing to do with the CRA. Former Asst FD Latoya Cason (who admitted doing the transfers) was let go just days before the Kessler audit came forward so they could say- she did it end of story. How is that forthcoming on the CRA?
City did not implement the corrective actions for the OIG Report. Where is the independent Internal Auditor reporting to the Commission that is authorized in the City Charter? Where are the financial reports?
The letter mentions monthly financial reports. MAOS has made a point of showing that all monthly reports that were generated by Jon Allen were off on cash balances in the General Fund. (From Dec. 2011 to this one Jan. 2013).
Transparency my ass… It is just that the Commissioners do not read and the Mayor signs off on anything.
And the BC Auditor signed off on these as a great improvement when the City had to send these to BC to justify the County backing the BSO contract in 2012.
And MAOS made a special report on cash shown in the audited financial statements for 2011. Audited by none other that Rod Harvey, frat brother of Allen and Eric Haynes, and long term friend. We know from public records requests that the City had $1.4 million in cash but statements showed over $2.9 million in cash that no one could ever trace.
This is on top of the $2.5 million the City took from the CRA.
Special Assessment money- that is why they jacked up the rates by up to 160%.
But this even exceeded that.
Someone should take a close look at the City’s long term recovery plan. Refinance everything- BSO debt to County and CRA debt out to 20 years. And sell off all city assets.