Waste, Fraud, & Mismanagement

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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Six-Mile BART Extension Is $4.4 Billion Over Budget

“Federal officials expect BART’s four-station extension in downtown San Jose could cost as much as $9.1 billion, or about $4.4 billion more than the initial price tag,” the San Jose Mercury News reported this week. The estimate came from the Federal Transit Administration, which said it is sending $2.3 billion in federal transit funds or a quarter of the final project cost, whichever is less. Officials with the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which is overseeing the six-mile extension, issued a…

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Prison Industry Authority Gave $1.3 Million in Unlawful Gifts, Audit Finds

The California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA), which provides work opportunities for inmates under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), gave nearly $1.3 million in unlawful gifts to other state agencies and repeatedly violated merit-based employment principles, the state auditor reported July 27. CalPIA, established to be a self-supporting and semiautonomous state agency similar to private industry, employs more than 900 people who work primarily on-site at adult prisons throughout the state. The agency produces goods…

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State Employees Wasted More Than $1.6 Million, Auditor Reports

The state wasted more than $1.6 million in tax dollars because of lax management of employees – including two California State University employees who spent up to 16 hours each week teaching at community colleges while also being paid to perform their state university work – State Auditor Elaine Howle reported May 25. During a three-year period, the Cal State Los Angeles lab workers spent an estimated 2,800 hours – valued at more than $103,000 – teaching classes at local…

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State Spending on Homelessness Is “Disjointed,” Not Based on Effectiveness, Auditor Says

California’s taxpayer-funded agencies are spending heavily to address homelessness, but have not followed a coordinated plan and do not base the spending on effectiveness, the state auditor reported February 11. The report, issued while the Legislature is considering a proposed $2.4 billion-per-year tax increase on California employers and consumers to generate funds for homelessness programs (with no sunset date), stated: “With more than 151,000 Californians who experienced homelessness in 2019, the State has the largest homeless population in the nation,…

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EDD Acknowledges Paying $11.4 Billion in Fraudulent UI Claims

The Employment Development Department (EDD) this week acknowledged that 9.7 percent of the 19.5 million unemployment insurance claims it has paid since March were fraudulent, and said an additional 17 percent are under investigation for possible fraud. That works out to $11.4 billion in confirmed fraud and an additional $20 billion in possible fraud. Julie Su, secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency – which oversees the EDD – said during a conference call with reporters: “There is…

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Allegations of EDD Fraud Prompt Emergency Audit

California lawmakers have approved an emergency audit of the Employment Development Department after people in several parts of the state reported receiving tens to hundreds of letters – and unrequested debit cards – from the EDD. In a letter sent to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Chair Rudy Salas Jr., a Democratic Assembly member from Bakersfield, said the audit will look at “EDD’s efforts to deliver unemployment insurance benefits to Californians, including a review of backlogs and efforts to improve…

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State Receives Little Information on Billions Spent for Mental Health

The state spends heavily on mental health care programs under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, but state officials lack sufficient information about how the money is spent, the state auditor reported July 28. “The treatment that individuals receive through the LPS Act is only one part of a much larger, county-based mental health system in which California invests billions of dollars each year,” the auditor wrote. “Despite the magnitude of that investment, policymakers and other stakeholders do not have the information they…

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California Board of Registered Nursing

State Board Attempts to Mislead Auditors and Falsify Data

Executive at the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) “violated state law when they falsified data to deceive the State Auditor’s Office,” the auditor reported June 30. Acting on a whistleblower complaint alleging that BRN executives intentionally manipulated the data used to create a report, the auditor investigated and found that three executives conceived and carried out a plan in late 2018 to manipulate data and provide a deliberately misleading report to the auditor. The report falsely showed that BRN had…

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