Voice of OC Register: State auditor to investigate Irvine’s Great Park audit
The state auditor’s office will investigate how two officials in Irvine handled the city’s audit of more than $200 million spent developing a small portion of the Great Park.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego lawmaker, convinced the state Joint Legislative Audit Committee on Tuesday to approve the audit request on behalf of Gafcon, a project management firm in her district that was a Great Park contractor.
Gafcon has said it was unfairly maligned in the audit and that its business has suffered as a result.
Daily Pilot Article: Great Park audit fees continue to grow
Taxpayers in Irvine are footing the bill for additional legal fees stemming from the Great Park audit, which was completed in March. An additional amount of up to $80,000 was approved by the Irvine City Council in order to continue its pursuit of potential improprieties released in the audit findings.
LA Times Article: Auditors examining Great Park money have spent $1.4 million themselves
The long-running effort to determine how tens of millions of dollars were spent trying to transform a retired Marine base into a sprawling municipal park has itself rocketed far past its original budget.
Voice of OC Article: Questions Continue to Dog Great Park Auditors
Early last year, auditor Christopher Money presented an audit of the Great Park’s contracts to the Irvine City Council that suggested gross mismanagement of Orange County’s most notorious public works project. His two-hour narrative included $12,000 spent to change just one word in a groundwater report; a politically connected consultant not being vetted; duplicate billings and project studies performed twice for no apparent reason. The story left most observers in the room reeling, and the headlines next morning were sensational. But lost amidst the ongoing controversy – and the release of more audit reports – was the fact that some of the most damning findings were either false or baseless.
4/22/15 – Joint Legislative Audit Committee Hearing on Irvine Great Park Audit
JLAC votes 9-3 in favor of an audit of the irvine city council. One more vote is needed to proceed for a state audit. Assembly Member Gonzales will return at the next meeting in June to obtain additional vote. City of irvine tried to stop the State audit but received little support.
Assembly woman Lorena Gonzalez requests audit into the performance of the City of Irvine’s Great Park Audit Subcommittee
I respectfully request that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approve an audit into the performance of Irvine City Council’s Audit Subcommittee.
In 2013, the Irvine City Council formed an audit Subcommittee in order to conduct a “forensic audit” of the $250 million of expenditures related to the Orange County Great Park. It appears this audit did not conform to the established government and professional standards for an audit in the State of California…
I agree that the Great Park audit is a cautionary tale, but not for the reasons presented by Irvine Councilwoman Christina Shea and county Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery in their recent opinion columns. Even Christopher Money, who was hired to produce the audit, acknowledged that he did not “perform audit or other examination services as defined by the American Institute of Public Accountants.”
The question must therefore be asked: If the audit was not really about what was spent and what was built, what was it about?
Councilmember Krom’s letter to the Members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee
Thank you for allowing me to provide my thoughts and observations as you consider whether to refer the Great Park Audit for review by the State Auditor. My name is Beth Krom and I have served on the Irvine City Council for fifteen years, including four years as Irvine’s directly elected mayor (2004-2008).
I was troubled to learn that our City lobbyists have been directed to stop your committee from recommending that the Great Park audit be reviewed by the State Auditor. Those who have taken great liberties with the reputations of our city, fellow Councilmembers, consultants and contractors and others now seem to be working aggressively to avoid independent review…
Audit Release Media Statement
March 24, 2014
Gafcon has repeatedly called for the completion of the January 2014 audit. The publication of the latest reports by Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro Accountants (HSNO) and Aleshire & Wynder, is a feeble and failed attempt to validate the City’s previous claims. We are disappointed by the City’s decision to release two more reports scattered with inaccuracies and ridden with unproven accusations. Throughout this so-called “audit,” Aleshire & Wynder and HSNO have repeatedly put forth unproven and misleading allegations. We are glad to see the City withdraw the initial 2014 audit which Gafcon refuted in a 90-minute video that addressed every allegation using footage and material from Council meetings. The City should have never released these current reports that fail to acknowledge previous errors and simply release a barrage of new false charges.
The final HSNO report has made it clear that despite their use of the word “audit” throughout the past months, this report was never intended to be an “audit” but rather a targeted investigation directed and controlled by the City Council and Audit Subcommittee. The City Council continues to make outrageous and false claims.
Councilmember Shea has now gone so far as to post on her personal Facebook that “Assemblywoman Gonzalez is a former employee of Gafcon,” which is completely untrue. All Gafcon has ever tried to do is ensure that information released publicly by the City is accurate. Gafcon’s reputation has now been damaged by not one, but four, error packed reports and updates made public by the City.
We continue to rely on a bipartisan coalition in the State Legislature that has filed a request with the Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee to investigate the conduct of the City of Irvine through this audit process. Irvine, which has run its own investigation, now wants to stop the State Legislature and the public from finding out the truth. What does Irvine have to hide?
The release of these latest Irvine reports does not dispel the countless lies and errors published within the pages of previous reports, and the ineptitude conduct of the Council and City staff throughout this investigation will not be overlooked. Gafcon will continue to supply the State and other agencies with all needed information and materials to hold the City accountable for the misleading allegations that have damaged the company’s hard earned reputation.
Gafcon continues to hold itself to the highest level of integrity and service to its clients and its employees, and will not allow the City to continue to harm the company and those in its realm, through the unproven allegations they have publicized. Since beginning work on the Great Park project in 2005, Gafcon cooperated with all requests from the City of Irvine but has been ignored and mistreated despite numerous attempts to seek the truth. With the release of the “audit,” Gafcon is all the more committed to shed truth on the errors publicized by the City.