New documents released on missing East Point funds
EAST POINT, GA (CBS46) -
New documents, released to CBS Atlanta Wednesday, offer more insight into the City of East Point's unaccounted funds.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, CBS Atlanta News requested reports regarding the city's missing $200-million dollars. The documents, compiled by Felton Financial Forensics, reveal from January 2000-December 2012, almost $200-million in city purchases did not have purchase orders. Important accounts payable files, such as invoices are incomplete, even missing from 2008-2010.
"I believe there was criminal activity going on here in the city," said Earnestine Pittman, Mayor of East Point. Pittman said she turned the case over to the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. However, according to a spokeswoman for District Attorney Paul Howard, "the City of East Point has not contacted our office regarding missing financial documents."
The report states, "it is inconclusive (if) the missing records were intentionally hidden, stolen, or destroyed".
The report also found city workers broke-up large purchases into smaller payments, presumable to avoid getting the council's permission, as larger deals require. It also found workers used field purchase orders, only designed for emergencies, daily. Purchases are not allowed to exceed $300. The report found two purchases that totaled more than $37,000 each.
The report suggested the city implement a number of changes including adding an anonymous fraud hotline for whistle blowers. Pittman said changes are needed, but not more safeguards. "This will happen any place you have elected officials who do not take their jobs seriously enough," she said.
The city was first alerted to possible trouble nearly a year ago when a City of East Point employee contacted Corliss Lawson, the new city attorney, and alleged improprieties in the city's bidding and procurement process.
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