State parks purposely hid millions
January 5, 2013
California parks department officials’ fears of embarrassment and possible budget cuts prompted them to deliberately conceal millions of dollars, according a new investigation by the state attorney general’s office. [LATimes]
In the report released on Friday, investigators said the amount deliberately stashed away was about $20 million and not the $54 million reported last summer. Although much of the accounting issues appeared to stem from innocent mistakes and discrepancies, the report said, about $20 million had been deliberately stashed away at a time the administration was threatening to close dozens of parks.
The problem began with calculation errors more than a decade ago. But when those mistakes were discovered in 2002, officials made a “conscious and deliberate” decision not to reveal the existence of the extra money because of fears of embarrassment and funding cuts.
In addition, the report says that prior claims that monies from off highway recreation parks such as the Oceano Dunes were intentionally unreported were incorrect.
“This investigation found no evidence of intentional or systematic failure to disclose OHV fund monies… .” the report says.” This investigation has yielded no evidence that any OHV monies were ever intentionally hidden.”