Casino Program of Riverside County Audited and Flaws Are Revealed
The Auditor of the California State recently released a review which showed irregularities in the way in which the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee of Riverside County handled Indian casino money. This committee consists of county, city and tribal officials and it is responsible for handing money out to local communities but the audit has revealed that this was done out without the required documentation.Financial disclosures from committee staff members who are involved in the grant decisions were also submitted late and in some cases, the documentation that was received was incomplete or non-existent. Four county committees were audited and the results showed that $1.7 million had been awarded over the last three years without the relevant documentation. For example, the Hemet Fire Department received almost $300,000 for a new fire engine without the required documentation.
In response to these comments, the Riverside County committee is addressing these findings and has stated that the Hemet grant error occurred as a result of a mistake in the application which they were trying to resolve.
The Committee also said that it would collect all missing disclosures from its members as well as update its conflict-of-interest policy.
In justifying the irregularities that were found in the audit, the Committee stated that previous audits did not require disclosures from those responsible for completing them while the State law clearly states that this documentation is required. The California State Auditor also audited local benefit committees in San Diego, Lake and Butte and has now recommended that an agency, such as the Department of Justice, should be appointed to assist these committees and provide oversight.