Waste, Fraud, & Mismanagement

Golden Gate Bridge Addition Is $255 Million Over Budget, Five Years Behind Schedule

A $145 million project to add a suicide-preventing net to the Golden Gate Bridge is running five years late and the cost is now expected to top $400 million, the San Francisco Business Times reported November 30. Installation of the 385,000-square-foot steel net was supposed to be completed by 2021, but now is expected to be delayed until 2026. A suit filed by the project’s general contractors alleges that the taxpayer-funded Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, which operates…

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Sacramento City Manager Will Make $182,000 More Than Governor

The Sacramento City Council voted 8-1 this week to increase City Manager Howard Chan’s base salary from $372,700 to $400,652 – a 7.5 percent raise that sets Chan’s base pay $182,096 higher than Governor Gavin Newsom’s. With bonuses and incentives, Chan’s new compensation could reach $456,994, The Sacramento Bee reported November 2. He will also will receive $500 per month for a vehicle, $100 per month for cell phone costs, and $400 as a monthly expense allowance. The vote came…

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State Spending $1.7 Million for One Toilet in San Francisco

A press conference to announce a “state budget win” for construction of a public restroom in San Francisco was abruptly canceled October 19 after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the restroom – a 150-square-foot facility that will house a single toilet – will cost taxpayers $1.7 million and won’t be completed until 2025. NBC Bay Area reported October 19 that the cost is higher than the $1.3 million median price for a home in the city. NBC Bay Area…

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California Spent Eight Times More Than Other States, Per Capita, to Conduct Census

California spent $4.75 per capita to conduct the 2020 census, compared to an average of 55 cents per capita in the other states with similar results, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reported September 8. The data was included in a PPIC Policy Brief that discusses the accuracy of the state’s count, as determined by comparing the official count to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “post-enumeration survey,” which provides “survey-based coverage estimates” of the U.S. census data. “California’s 2020…

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Medi-Cal Paid $17.6 Million in Fraudulent Charges to Nonprofit

The state’s Medi-Cal system paid $17.6 million to a Long Beach nonprofit that fraudulently obtained the money by submitting phony claims for drug and alcohol abuse treatment, The Associated Press reported May 9. Three people were convicted May 9 in the scheme. “They were the latest among 19 people convicted of federal charges involving a Long Beach-based nonprofit called Atlantic Recovery Services, later called Atlantic Health Services,” the AP reported. “The organization provided treatment for substance abuse to students at…

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San Francisco Spent $250,000 on Database That Hasn’t Been Used

San Francisco spent $250,000 to develop a database intended to track the performance of contractors on city construction projects, but three years later the database has yet to be used, the San Francisco Chronicle reported April 13. The San Francisco Civil Grand Jury studied the “performance evaluation database” that was recommended in a 2014 city controller’s audit. The database was completed in 2018 and tested in 2019. “Yet, the departments that oversee public construction projects – which include the Department…

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Fraud Stamp

Massive Hospice Fraud Suspected in Los Angeles, Auditor Says

“The state’s weak oversight of hospice agencies has created opportunities for large-scale fraud and abuse,” and the evidence “strongly suggests” that such fraud is occurring in Los Angeles County, the state auditor reported March 29. At the direction of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the auditor reviewed the state’s licensure and oversight of hospice agencies, which typically offer palliative end-of-life care to individuals with medical diagnoses of fewer than six months to live. The fraud indicators that the auditor found…

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Los Angeles Spends $600,000 Per Unit on Homeless Housing

Funds from a voter-approved $1.2 billion bond to address homelessness in Los Angeles are not stretching as far as expected, as the average cost of housing projects in construction was $600,000 per unit in 2021 – and 14 percent of units in construction cost more than $700,000 per unit – Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin reported February 23. “If nothing changes, … costs could soon reach $900,000 or $1 million per unit,” Galperin predicted. The per-unit cost was $530,000…

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Ontario Montclair School District

School District Pays Superintendent More Than $600,000 a Year

James Hammond, the superintendent of the Ontario-Montclair School District, receives compensation of more than $600,000 a year “through a series of opaque perks, including one that allows him to cash out a generous complement of sick time,” the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported November 14. Hammond, the highest-paid K-12 administrator in the state – and possibly the world – for three years in a row, received 85 days of leave this year, and that number will continue to increase by five days…

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