Reporting Tim Kephart
South Florida Crime
LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Broward County Inspector General John Scott announced Monday that Lauderdale Lakes city officials have “grossly mismanaged public funds entrusted to its care.”
The report from the Office of the Inspector General found that due to the gross mismanagement, the city went from a $6 million surplus in general fund reserves to being $9 million in the red for public safety costs as well as incurring a $2.5 million debt to the Lauderdale Lakes Community Redevelopment Agency.
The OIG found the city’s former finance director, Larry Tibbs, under the authority of the former city manager, Anita Fain-Taylor, continued to “propose inflated revenue estimates that ignored the downturn in the economy and multiple red flags.”
Lauderdale Lakes’ revenues were declining by the millions, but Tibbs employed “various maneuvers to supply inflated and unsupported estimates for a fictitious revenue budget of over $18.6 million.”
The OIG said it substantiated allegations CRA funds were used to pay city operating expenses, which the CRA Chairman didn’t know about. The CRA chairman labeled the use of the funds as “a shell game.”
Lauderdale Lakes never paid tax revenues to the CRA in 2010, and used a non-existent services agreemtn to budget for $800,000 in revenues from the CRA in 2011, according to the OIG report.
The Broward OIG also found that even though city officials were misled about the City’s financial condition, they “also failed to properly review and comprehend written reports submitted by independent auditors, and failed to demand more frequent financial reports from the city administration.”
The OIG said the “untenable missteps by the city administration catalogued in this reports serve as a primer for how not to manage taxpayer monies, a state of affairs which simply cannot be repeated by either the city or any other Broward municipality.”