WHEN WILL THE CORRUPTION STOP? - Last week the Los Angeles City Controller released an audit finding that "millions of gallons of taxpayer-funded city fuel was pumped in recent years with no record of where it went." (Link)
According to the report, City Hall lost another $7 million (if not more) of your money because of their systemic incompetence, or possibly even theft. Some quick research, however, conducted by a few Angelenos concerned about corruption in City Hall – who also happen to have good memories – thought that this story sounded eerily familiar.
The truth is that a strikingly similar "fuel usage" audit had been conducted years before, by the prior City Controller (Laura Chick), back in January 2009. (Link) Significantly, the very same "Director of Auditing," Farid Safar, CPA, supervised both audits.
Controller Chick's 2009 audit concluded, among other things, that the Department of General Services "does not provide reports to departments so they can monitor their employees' fuel transactions for appropriateness."
Controller Greuel's 2012 audit concluded, among other things, that "departments do not utilize the data available ... to monitor fuel use for potential problems or abuse."
These remarkable similarities lead to a very disturbing and troublesome conclusion: that City officials knew of Controller Chick's 2009 "fuel usage" audit, had it in their possession, sat on it, and did nothing about it for more than three (3) years, thereby consciously and intentionally allowing LA taxpayers to continue to be ripped off, and consciously and intentionally allowing the guilty City departments to continue the abuse – all with the grand scheme of waiting to expose the abuse again when a political advantage could be obtained.
And what better time to maximize press coverage of this fraud than when gas prices are a national news story on a daily basis. Indeed, the first nine words of the Controller's 2012 audit cover letter are "Record level gas prices have affected all of us."
Unfortunately, this demonstrates that what has been described as City Hall "incompetence" for years now might not be incompetence at all, but something much more sinister. Incompetence suggests a lack of ability, even a slight sense of innocence, while perhaps reaching a level of negligence – which is much less severe than intentional misconduct.
A fair review of this matter, however, suggests intentional misconduct inside City Hall – at the extreme expense of innocent and hard-working taxpayers.
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