Oceano’s financial records manipulated?

June 8, 2011

By KAREN VELIE

Oceano’s former general manager asked the company he purchased a controversial new computer system from to input unconfirmed accounting data leaving the district unable to come up with accurate financial information.

After years of financial mismanagement, Oceano Community Services District facing insolvency, is behind almost three years on audits and has seen three temporary interim general managers leave within two weeks.

Oceano’s former general manager, Raffaele Montemurro, said he was unable to get passwords for the district’s old computer system, so he somehow arrived at numbers that he gave to the company that he purchased a more than $200,000 computer system from. It was these numbers that were inputted into the new system.

Typically, Tyler Technologies takes financial data from an agency’s old computer system and inputs it into the new system, said  Elven Corder, Tyler Technologies vice president of implementation.

In this instance, however, after much debate, Tyler Technologies agreed to input unverified data into the new computer as long as Montemurro and the former president of the Oceano board, Jim Hill, would agree to sign a contract which would hold Tyler Technologies harmless from any damages that might occur.

However, Montemurro never asked Hill to sign the agreement, dated January 26, which appears to have been signed by Lori Angelo, then district board vice president. It was not until CalCoastNews called board members to ask about the agreement that they became aware of its existence.

“He needed to take the data from the old system, but he wouldn’t do it,” Hill said. “Apparently he decided to just put in numbers which is stunning.

“I was starting to smell a rat,” added Hill, who stepped down from the board in March claiming Montemurro refused to follow instructions.

Angelo told CalCoastNews she does not remember signing the agreement. Even so, according to district policy and the Brown Act, board members are required to inform the entire board of actions they take on behalf of the district.

“If that is her legitimate signature, it is appalling,” Hill said. “Anything like this would need to be a board decision and the board would have brought Montemurro up on charges for suggesting it.”

The document said that Tyler Technologies agreed “to convert general ledger, accounts payable and payroll data for which you are not able to provide any documentation that can be used to verify individual general ledger account balances, vendor balances, accounts payable balances or employee pay history.”

“Tyler Technologies further cautions that the data should not be represented to any reporting authority as audited financial information nor should it be submitted to any auditing authority, as it has not been subject to any authenticating procedures,” the agreement says.

Oceano’s board terminated Montemurro two weeks ago. He was let go following a CalCoastNews exclusive that showed Montemurro’s net pay appeared to have increased above his contracted amount, according to district records.

Montemurro appeared to have been overpaying himself for more than a month. Shortly after the CalCoastNews exclusive, he changed the amount of his last paycheck back to his contracted pay, according to district records.

During the past two weeks, three interim general managers have quit the district. The first quit after a day claiming to have health related issues.

The second, procured through a temp agency, declined shortly before they were scheduled to begin. The third lasted a few hours and left noting that numerous district documents were missing.

(edit:6/9/2011 added documents)

Tyler Letter

Payroll Reg


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64 Comments

  1. danika says:

    I apologize the link below is unrelated to the article but I found it rather interesting and thought you all might as well. Gives us some idea of how many “gifts” are given to our state government members and workers…

    http://www.sacbee.com/2009/09/02/2156954/database-see-every-gift-given.html?appSession=875221416241812

    (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
    • Moderator says:

      danika, we have a page for things like this that you want to share; right hand column under ‘more’ community news/archives/ submit
      please submit your link there, if it becomes a news brief we will put a star by your nickname or something :-) .

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • danika says:

        I apologize for my ineptitude and will use that link in the future. Thanks, Moderator! : )

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. oto says:

    Whoops…They ran out of space at the bottom of the page…I was referring to DuneDude’s titalating (sp!?) reference to Angelo and “what a Federal judge called a ‘sham’…(see entry towards bottom of page dated 06/9/2011 3:37 pm

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  3. oto says:

    Hey, Dude! What judge? When did this happen? Did he used to be on the OCSD Board? If so, what years? Inquiring newcomers want to know…

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  4. oto says:

    What judge? When did this happen?

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  5. whosays says:

    Benefit of the doubt. . Give us all a break. When the G.M. went behind the back of the Board and the President to get a signature tjat was imaitjerozed by the board. An Angelo set on that info. for three months. There’s huge creditability issues. Who has an agenda.

    (14) 14 Total Votes - 14 up - 0 down
    • SLORider says:

      imaitjerozed ??

      (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
    • WakingUpInOceano says:

      No board member is supposed to be signing anything that the board has not voted on. In this article, Angello says she doesn’t remember signing the document. In another article she says she thought it was the right thing to do to get the district caught up. Which is it, does she or doesn’t she remember?

      When the numbers don’t match from one system to the next, this is an easy time to steal the difference of those two numbers. Isn’t there an old friendship/tie there? Now Angello is in the office dealing with the books. Not good, not good. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it just might be a duck.

      (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
      • whosays says:

        to wakingupinoceano. Old tie’s.Sooo deep they shaare dna.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  6. SewerHeightsRez says:

    Making up income statements and balance sheets is likely the result of no hard copies or no back ups or fraud. Which is it? A bit of forensic accounting is all it takes to find out.

    (16) 16 Total Votes - 16 up - 0 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      A general manager has access to most everything. Hard copies can be destroyed. I can’t speak for OCSD’s practices, but mostly computer backups are for a short period time, and are meant to be used if the computer system fails or otherwise loses data.

      The Board–in its many forms–has done so much so poorly.

      Why didn’t they bring in a specialist in computer security/forensics for a program to ensure if, for instance, a GM went rogue, as much information as possible would be protected?

      Why wasn’t/weren’t the drive(s) from the old computer sent out to have the password “hacked”? Why wasn’t/weren’t copies of the old computer’s hard drive(s) made and saved as a precaution for the future? Even in my home computer situation, I have every hard drive I’ve ever used. Why not? They take up very little space.

      They’ve known for months there were problems with Montemurro. They should have had allt he hard-copy records available scanned, and had staff, including Montemurro, working only from the scanned documents, maintaining the integrity of the hard copies, and had copies of the scanned copies stored in at least two separate locations.

      It makes me sick to think of all of that data being lost or corrupted. That is the history of OCSD and for at least part of Oceano’s history.

      This is such a very sad situation.

      What is district counsel doing through all of this?

      (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
      • Catnip says:

        MryMln,rshldIsyKvnP.Rcndrg.ImstknlythghtywrlnnHllnthlstblgbcsthnlyprsnncnthtlksJmH
        llshswf.Ydn’tlvncn,bthvtknnntrstncnpltcsncLrngllllgllyntrddntffc.Ythnhdthmdrtrfthsstrmv
        vrycmmnthdwrttnnthlstblg.YrnvlvdncnpltcsbcsfthDnsntrstsndth”FrndsfthDns”,Fd)ybthsh
        rYalswrthnlyntstndpfr RckSrcy’sppntmnt.

        Back on point. There are computer backup’s. OCSD has them and Tyler Tech has them. Who said there was no backup data? The problem was Montemurro wasn’t able to close the books in order to get real numbers. He simply didn’t know how.

        This is not about a rogue GM. This is about a couple of directors that decided they would call the shots for the entire community.

        The only thing I agree with you on is where is the district counsel? Why didn’t she secure confidential records prior to handing the keys over to the thugs of Oceano? This may be the topic of the next article. I have heard the Hill’s have been the target of identity theft.

        Bottom line: Lori Angello should resign.

        (-7) 31 Total Votes - 12 up - 19 down
        • Moderator says:

          Catnip; we want to know your opinion about this story very much !
          your suppositions and attacks on other users posting here not so much:-(
          guessing identities, personal attacks, strongly discouraged, for this reason some of your vowels are gone. any questions?? email thank you.
          focus more on the actual facts of the story and way less focus on other members / users, please.

          (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
          • SLORider says:

            We can read it without vowels. I like Jim and I’m not his wife, I’m not Mallone either, Director Pamela Dean did the illegal appointing, I have no moderation/deletion powers, and yes, I stood up for Rick.

            (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
      • WakingUpInOceano says:

        I think this is district council’s first time around the block. I don’t think she has done any government work before. I don’t know that and could be wrong. But remember, Monte and Hill were trying to get rid of everyone that knew anything.

        (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
    • whosays says:

      Hey SewerHeightsRez’ If you weren’t snoozing, everytime attempts were made to expand the forensic audit of only one quarter that showed questionable dealings. 3 times to be specific. Lucy an Angelo felt it was in the best interest of the people to move on an not rack up more costs. Monty was happy with that as if anything was to be found, he wanted to do the findin. Heck ratepayers, just alittle over two wks. ago we read right here that Directors Lucy an Angelo were happy with ol Monty; By gosh he was just a bit overworked. I guess Angelo was just helping ol Monty by signing her john hancock so as not to have to tax Monty with bringing that jewel to the Board.Yep. that extra looksee might have saved us a bundle. why was Monty being covered for.

      (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
      • WakingUpInOceano says:

        The forensic audit they did was from a time period before Monte was hired. It was basically a witch-hunt Jim Hill orchestrated to try to make more accusations against the people he was trying to get rid of. The forensic audit had to be done because Hill had made a large number of false accusations against employees. I think the only reason the district wasn’t sued by them is because of outstanding character.

        (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
        • whosays says:

          Wakingupinoceano. No false accusations. MONEY was missing. Accounting information was not forthcoming from staff for audit’s. Mann’s vote for the 3 mo. forensic look see was so hard won, that she left in a huff an mad. The audit’s were behind 2 yrs. then. The majority of the board faught that forensic audit for over two yrs.Yes.Hill did push for that audit again an again. He was stonewalled , just like he was at the sanitation dist. Re; Wallace an conflict.

          (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
    • WakingUpInOceano says:

      There definitely needs to be someone from the outside come in and go through the books. Oh, by the way, all documents must be kept on paper. It’s the law.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  7. Newsie says:

    Why is everyone jumping all over Hill? It sounds like he was the only one interested in doing the right thing. Perhaps the on-going frustration with dealing with these yahoos, with no real avenue for exposing their corruption is why he left.
    He was the only one who stood up to Wallace et al during his time on the SSLOCSD board.
    This whole thing is a mess though. It sounds like both SSLOCSD and OCSD need to have a clean sweep of their management and restore some integrity to our local governing bodies. I do not agree with handing these agencies off to larger oversight bodies, then their unique interests will get lost in all the shuffle.

    (0) 26 Total Votes - 13 up - 13 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      It may just seem like everyone, if you get my drift.

      (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
      • FastTracker says:

        Hill yelled in Barbara Mann’s face and got her to retire. Hill got her seat filled with angelo. Now he has a 3-2 vote in his favor.

        Hill made it a priorty to get RM hired with the district as the GM. The sole purpose was to eliminate key staff.

        He has RM eliminate key staff.

        Hill is the driving force behind the new updated system. He agrees and votes for the new system.

        Hill decides to jump ship once he knows RM was a bad choice for OCSD.

        These are just some key points that has led OCSD to where it is today.

        Without Jim Hill, none of this would be possible. Hill had no control of RM, but Hill supported RM until he resigned.

        (6) 22 Total Votes - 14 up - 8 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          1. From just my (relatively) short period of time in observation, on the OCSD Board, there was lots of yelling going on in lots of people’s faces. The board is dysfunctional; there is no two ways about it.

          2. Please provide references for claims about Hill having priority to get Montemurro hired, what Hill’s purpose was (if the claim is, indeed, true), for Hill “has RM eliminate key staff,” etc., etc.

          3. What is on the table now, in front of us, is the implosion of the OCSD as a result of the Boards’ being dysfunctional. There is nothing inherently wrong with a computer system, as long as it functions as was promised by the sales person. Montemurro “couldn’t find the password,” and was allowed to make up his own numbers as the baseline from which the computer system operated. Angelo signed an agreement with Tyler, absolving Tyler for any responsibility for the numbers being wrong. Hill has not been on the Board for –what? a month, 6 weeks? During that time, none of the remaining 3 board members bothered to check OCSD’s financials, so Montemurro was able to write himself checks whenever he wanted, with ZERO OVERSIGHT. The remaining members of the Board did not put into practice safeguards to protect OCSD from Montemurro destroying or stealing documents from OCSD.

          This is a cluster-you-know-what specifically designed and enacted by several incarnations of dysfunctional OCSD boards. There ain’t no Baby Jesus in the bunch, but I don’t understand the continued attacks on Hill, especially since he, as a member of the board, was just one of five who voted, and he hasn’t been on the board in weeks.

          (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
          • FastTracker says:

            Ok.
            If you know what you know today, would you still back Jim Hill or vote to give RM a raise?
            Remember when Jim had his little poster of OCSD as a Boat going down?

            (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
          • cry-me-a-river says:

            Well, I hate to disappoint you but the board now is far from dysfunctional. Dysfunctional went out when you and Jim Hill resigned, the best thing to happen to OCSD. The yelling stopped when you left. Everyone of these 5 board members is doing an outstanding job in turning the district around. There is a lot of work to do but we finally have a cohesive board that respects each other and are determined to pull OCSD out of the mess.

            (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
        • WakingUpInOceano says:

          Jim Hill did more than just yell in Barbara Mann’s face. He also made jesters that could be interpreted as a threat of physical violence. What a terrible thing to do to an elderly lady.

          (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down

Comments are closed.