$42.6 Million In Hidden City Funds Found: Was It Stashed? - KMSP-TV

$42.6M In Hidden City Funds Found: Was It Stashed?

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Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11) LA City officials recently found nearly $43 million dollars in a forgotten special Department Of Transportation fund because of an error in city funds accounting.

The funds, which total $42.6 million, will be transferred into next year's budget, but city officials are now a little worried that other special funds may still be "lost in the mix."

If this money been discovered sooner, the city fund that pays for police, fire and other city services (that city employees were forced to take furloughs and pay cuts recently) could have been stopped, and those resources could have been running "business as usual."

That cash -- and where it's been hiding -- is now becoming an issue in the upcoming mayor's race.

Here is the link to the public document about the "lost" and then "found' $42.6 million dollars we've been reporting about all morning (NOTE: PDF File): City Of Los Angeles Budget Memos

Renovated and restored Echo Park Lake got a political grand opening of sorts this morning with a trio of politicians all very proud of what's been done with Measure "O" money, but in many ways it really was a park-opening-turned-political-event.

After all, one of those politicians was Eric Garcetti who is running for LA Mayor against City Controller Wendy Greuel. Echo Park is his district. Plenty of media was on hand for this, but most of the attention was aimed at the campaign.

There was talk about a new poll showing the two candidates neck and neck. Said Garcetti: "It's going to come down to who gets out the vote."

A lot of my questions had to do with his reaction to the dust-up over some $43 million dollars suddenly found in special fund coffers.

"It's astounding to me that we would have $43 million under our noses when she was transportation chair and city controller."

The missing millions were hiding under everyone's noses for 17 years because of what, in effect, was an accounting error. And, this at a time city officials were cutting services, budgets and jobs.

I made a couple of efforts this morning to reach Greuel, but got no response to my email and text message to her campaign press deputy. We are still trying to reach her, but in a prior statement she aimed the blame at the council saying she had given a number of indications of her concern about these special funds the city departments have.

But, to that, Garcetti told me and other reporters in the park that it is "the Controller who audits. That's the principal role of the controller."

On Tuesday, the city council's budget committee will meet. An aide to the committee tells me this issue will be front and center.

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