Cal Fire hid $3.6 million from state
January 27, 2013
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection hid $3.6 million rather than depositing it into the state’s cash-strapped general fund as required. [LATimes]
For seven years, Cal Fire paid the nonprofit California District Attorneys Assn. to hold settlement monies. Cal Fire would use the cash for equipment purchases and training.
The money came from legal settlements. The Legislature established the agency’s civil cost recovery program to force those responsible for starting a fire to pay the costs of putting out the blaze, the LA Times said.
Cal Fire’s own regulations state that the proceeds of such settlements go to the state’s general fund.
Nevertheless, Cal Fire established the fund with the district attorney’s association in 2005. The association charged a fee to hold the money that changed over the years. When it began, the prosecutors received 3 percent of the money when it came in and 15 percent when Cal Fire pulled money out for training or equipment.