Remember the hue and cry of the Republicans who took over the Irvine City Council about the need for a forensic audit of The Great Park? According to the contract the city entered into with the auditor, HSNO of Costa Mesa, the final report of the Forensic audit was scheduled to be delivered today. It’s not. The final report deadline has been extended to after January 1, 2014.
TheLiberalOC learned Saturday the report would be delayed until after the first of the year. City Council members were informed Monday about the delay which kicks the audit into the new political campaign year. The City of Irvine confirmed “an extension of the deadline for the forensic audit report to after January first” in a voice message this morning.
We’ve chatted with financial experts who offer up these possible explanations:
1. The forensic audit is more complicated than originally anticipated.
2. The auditor lowballed the work involved and needs more time; it’s unclear if the extension also requires additional budget for the contract which is just under a quarter million.
3. The auditor cannot find any evidence of corruption alleged by Republicans and needs to dig deeper to satisfy them with something they can use in November’s elections.
4. The auditor is unable to compare the Forensic audit of the Great Park against other public/private development projects.
5. The auditor has much to report (which some analysts say is unlikely given the Great Park’s regular financial audits). The Forensic audit is to review contracts and make sure city policy was applied in entering into those contracts and if the said contracts were documented to completion.
It is unclear if the auditor has provided a single project update about the audit to the city manager or the city council. But what is clear is that the forensic audit is not about good government policies at the Great Park, but instead about affecting the political fortunes of Republicans up for re-election to the City Council in November 2014.
The original contract was struck in April but work not begun until mid June with a promised delivery date of today. Another 75+ days are required to finish and its time to ask why is this taking so long?