HSNO of Costa Mesa will present the findings of the forensic audit it conducted by 85 Great Park contractors who had contracts in excess of $100,000 at the January 14 Irvine City Council meeting. According to a story in the Irvine World News, council member Christina Shea said attempts by the firm to collect information from certain vendors have been “problematic” followed by a statement that she and Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway “haven’t been updated” by the auditor (which is it?).
Two of the contractors, designer Ken Smith and the PR firm of Forde & Mollrich, were not even contacted by the auditor until a week before the final report was due. Smith directed to the auditor to the Great Park’s design office which had copies of all of his records. Stu Mollrich has for a complete set of questions in writing, which were not provided a full 30 days after the auditor agreed to send questions. Our last conversation with Mollrich was late November and the auditor still hadn’t sent the questions, which makes it look like a poor attempt to stretch this audit out as far as possible. A source close to the city has indicated the questions have still not been presented to Forde & Mollrich.
Shea told the IWN she isn’t sure the January 14 report is the “end of this audit.” HSNO has asked the city for attorney-client privilege and has apparently received it because Lalloway wouldn’t tell the Irvine World News why they requested this protection.
What this boils down to is the auditor is complaining to the city that they can’t get the information they need from a key contractor when they refuse to submit the questions for the information they need for that contractor to the contractor themselves. Incompetence or negligence?
Here’s how it looks:
Auditor: “I don’t have the answers to the questions I need to finish my work?”
Client: “Why not?”
Auditor: “The contractor hasn’t answered my questions.”
Client: “Why haven’t they?”
Auditor: “Because I haven’t sent them yet.”
Client: “When were you supposed to send the questions?”
Auditor: “Two months ago.”
And this is apparently OK for Ms. Shea who is lkely to seek more time for a complete audit. Anything to get the final report out closer to November I’m sure.
Sources close to city hall say Shea is pressing for the auditor to have subpoena power. Perhaps instead of jumping through hoops to ask for legal protection and legal authority, HSNO might be better served by actually submitting the questions to the contractors they promised to do but still haven’t.
In light of the two comprehensive compliance audits already conducted by city staff for the Great Park, we have a taxpayer funded $240,000 forensic audit managed by Shea, who has an extensive track record of using her city position to make threats against her political opponents, which reveals one true thing. The only Great Park contractor not in compliance with their contract is the forensic auditor themselves.