The Oceano Community Services District turned down a request from the District Attorney’s Office to continue an audit investigating financial irregularities last October, according to Oceano officials. With little fanfare or discussion, the Board of Directors turned down the request during a board meeting on Oct. 13, 2010.
However, it’s likely there will be another chance to vote on the issue. At the Feb. 9 regular meeting, two of the new directors asked the general manager to put the subject on a future agenda.
The board had ordered a sample forensic audit—an audit of only three months instead of the entire year—of the 2008-09 financial year in December 2009 to investigate various financial mysteries that had been discovered: uncashed district checks, incongruent check numbers between the bank and the district, and secretive tax penalties. District officials later uncovered $368,000 in district funds that had been kept in accounts hidden from the Board of Directors.
Results of the sample were dramatic. According to a director, the partial audit found 134 of 438 financial transactions were deemed “questionable.” According to General Manager Raffaele F. Montemurro and other district directors, the District Attorney’s Office wanted to see more information.
“We sent the DA the information that we had found [from the audit],” said Montemurro, who was hired after the time of the events in question. “They said perhaps we should consider looking at some other stuff, too.”
The board asked few questions at the October meeting and the proposal to continue the audit was quietly dropped without a vote, with board members hinting that the cost was too high.