Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 5:28 p.m.
A draft of a report by the Broward Inspector General was leaked today outlining the office's finding when it comes to "gross mismanagement of public funds by the City of Lauderdale Lakes" -- check out our original post
for a run-down of the allegations.
There are a looot of details about how the OIG found broken financial systems in the city, particularly when it comes to use of funds from the Community Redevelopment Agency, which are earmarked for specific uses and can't just be used to pay general operating expenses. According to the report... they were.
One anecdote in particular stuck out, in which former Financial Director Larry Tibbs cut a check he knew wouldn't...
clear, a $1.2 million check to the Broward Sheriff's Office that was due in July 2010. The details come from an interview with an assistant finance director that appears to be Latoya Cason.
During a meeting at the end of September 2010, Tibbs told then-City Manager Anita Fain-Taylor that the bill had been paid. Cason "was shocked at Mr. Tibbs' assertion, since she knew the BSO had not been paid," according to the report. Fain-Taylor then told Tibbs and Cason to call the BSO to make sure everything was paid up, and Fain-Taylor "seemed surprised" to hear that the city didn't have any money to pay the BSO. Fain-Taylor told Cason to hold off on writing any checks until things were sorted out.
But several hours later, Tibbs told an account coordinator to cut the check for $1.2 million, "despite the fact that he knew there were not enough funds in the City's general pooled cash account to cover it."
Fain-Taylor "was shocked that Mr. Tibbs would issue the check contrary to her instructions," but then Cason transferred half a million dollars from the city's community redevelopment funds to cover it -- in case you don't follow at this point, that's not what the community redevelopment money is for.
Then, Bank of America called. The city was short 92 grand on the check.
So Cason just grabbed another $200,000 from the CRA account, and that was that.
In total, the OIG found that more than $2.5 million had been pilfered out of the CRA account "as a type of emergency fund," in direct violation of Florida law.
Tibbs said he's only today received a draft of the report, but said numerous allegations were "not true" and that he would be writing a "lengthy rebuttal" once he's had time to review the report.