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.”

 


7 Comments

  1. isoslo says:

    Incompetence at best. Criminal activity at worst. Yet every government employee involved will receive no punishment, no fine, no consequence whatsoever. In fact many will continue to receive raises so that they can retire at the highest possible allowed rate. This is but another example of how the government is using the government to continue the fleecing of the taxpayer for the benefit of the government employees.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Kevin Rice says:

    The Attorney General’s report completely vindicates prior accusations that State Parks OHV Division hid $34 million. The A.G. interviewed dozens of witnesses, producing thousands of pages of transcripts.

    LINK TO A.G.’s REPORT

    CONCLUSIONS:

    “This investigation found no evidence of intentional or systematic failure to disclose OHV fund monies…”

    “In four of the past nineteen years…events have evidently resulted in anywhere from $20.5 to $35.1 million more OHV dollars being over-reported…”

    “This investigation has yielded no evidence that any OHV monies were ever intentionally hidden.”

    “No evidence has been adduced that suggests any OHV monies have been intentionally unreported to the DOF. Instead, witnesses consistently claim the disparities in OHV fund balance reports are due to: (1) differences in how the multi-million-dollar loans of OHV monies to the general fund, now totaling $160 million, are required to be reported to the DOF and SCO; (2) reporting and timing issues relating to appropriations, encumbrances, and crediting back of funds for proposed multi-million-dollar OHV land acquisitions that were never consummated; and (3) an unintended and subsequently corrected multi-million-dollar infusion of fuel excise tax dollars into the OHV fund.”

    “The available evidence thus does not support a claim that OHV fund balances have been systematically, intentionally under-reported to the DOF over the years, as has been the case with the undisclosed monies in the SPRF.”

    “The SPRF fund balance reports involve admitted deception (intentional under-reporting) while the OHV fund balance reports do not appear to involve deception.”

    “… misconception that tens of millions of OHV dollars have been consistently and intentionally unreported to the DOF for years.”

    “…it cannot be said with any authority that any OHV funds have been intentionally under-reported to the DOF.”

    “Variances between the SCO and the Governor’s Budget for the
    Off-Highway Vehicle Fund in prior fiscal years can partially be
    attributed to timing differences for loans to the general fund, and
    errors in fuel tax allocations. These variances are in the process of
    being corrected and will be reflected in 2012-13 fiscal year
    financial statements and the Governor’s Budget.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

    • danika says:

      So much for OHV money extorted from OHV owners being solely used to improve the OHV experience. All it did was create a legal loan account for the State to dip into whenever it took fancy to.
      Feel good about that mandatory retirement bill passed last year that is being honed out in the State even now? You know, the one where all employees must contribute 3% of their paycheck to go into a “retirement” fund for their futures, collected by the employers but paid to and controlled by the State?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  3. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Where ELSE are they hiding or losing track of money? Consider this:

    Trillions of dollars are missing from the US government. What’s going on? Where is the money? How could this happen? Where are the checks and balances? How much more has gone missing? What would happen if a corporation failed to pass an audit like this? Or a taxpayer? Who is responsible for this? Would your banks continue to handle your bank account if you behaved like this? Would your investors continue to buy your securities if you behaved like this? Learn more in the articles below.

    http://solari.com/archive/missing_money/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    • r0y says:

      Here’s a dirty little (not so) secret: money is just a made-up thing, with the Federal Reserve (aka private banking corporation) just printing or digitally-depositing whatever it wants. A trillion is lost? No problemo: add a zero to Citi or Chase’s accounts…

      As long as we’re all OK taking monopoly money and too frightened to cry out about the emperor’s choice of attire, it will remain what it has been here since 1912…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  4. The Gimlet Eye says:

    “The report said the problem seemed to begin with calculation errors more than a decade ago”

    Government can’t calculate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. whatisup says:

    There is no mention of the OHV funds in the LA Times story that is linked here and no link to the actual report. Does CCN have a link to the report?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

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