Santa’s Slush Fund….

 

… EXPOSED

As I continue to open “gifts” from my recent 18 page document trove, released by the City of Wildomar in response to my recent Public Records Act ( “PRA”) request, I found evidence of a disturbing lack of accountability in the handling of city funds, including cash, generated from the December 15, 2012 Breakfast With Santa event put on by the City of Wildomar.

Unfortunately, despite our specific request for a copy of the receipts that documented the above purchases, the City Clerk failed to include them, forcing yours truly to meet with City Manager Gary Nordquist yesterday afternoon to discuss the shortcomings of City Staff for their conduct anf lack of compliance with the PRA, as well as the mishandling of public funds, described hereinafter.

Nordquist has promised that he will address the shortcomings with the City Clerk and make the appropriate corrections.

According to the documents received, the City of Wildomar fronted or “put up” $286.80 (including an offsetting credit of $76.06 to Smart & Final) to purchase the food ingredients and party supplies for the breakfast event.

The unwitting victims of the City’s unfortunate Health & Safety Ordinance avoidance (See my previous article, below, “Wildomar’s Kitchen Nightmare ….Breakfast With Santa” for the gut-wrenching details) generated a  total of $1084.00 to the City of Wildomar, while the unsuspecting citizens were enjoying their opportunity to mingle their morning fare with a mythical St. Nicolas imposter. (Wildomar’s white-bearded version of Santa was observed to be wearing his favorite Hawaiian shirt under his red bathrobe).

At the end of the event, City of Wildomar officials supposedly counted out $1039 in cash, plus $45 in personal checks, “documenting” $1084 in revenues.

However, the total deposit of funds to the City of Wildomar, as of January 04, 2013, is only $399.00, leaving nearly $400 unaccounted for.

Apparently, after deducting the $286.80 from the total, which left a total “profit” of $797.20, the City official in charge of the event simply, and improperly, divided up the monies and improperly handed $398.60, in cash, to the co-recipient of the largess, Friends For Wildomar’s Parks.

So that there  is no misunderstanding of the implications of what just occurred, nearly $400 in cash receipts, which should have been deposited with the City of Wildomar, were instead improperly diverted directly to the coffers of a city-favored park volunteer group.

(Update, as of 1:00 PM today: Apparently after initiating an investigation into the matter at City Hall, it still remains “uncertain” as to how much, where and how the money went, and who received it.)

For some reason, city officials continue to operate the City of Wildomar as if it is their own non-profit community-based organization, supposedly subject to the laws of the land but somewhat conveniently flying beneath the harsh radar of accountability.

Once again, City Manager Gary Nordquist has promised to confront his staff with these disturbing developments and make the necessary changes in their money handling procedures to prevent a recurrence.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

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