Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Auditors Can't Fill in Gaps; $2 Million from City Special Events Office Not Tracked

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Auditors Can't Fill in Gaps; $2 Million from City Special Events Office Not Tracked

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson

Almost $2 million in checks from Jacksonville's city-run special events office were written over several years without being tracked by city accountants, auditors for the City Council reported Thursday.

The review left auditors unable to fill in some gaps about how money was spent.

"We didn't find fraud," said Council Auditor Kirk Sherman. But at the same time, he said: "I can't say with certainty that nobody made off with any money."

The head of the office, Theresa O'Donnell Price, was dismissed last year during a management shuffle, while auditors were still working on their findings. She works now at the University of North Florida and didn't return phone messages left there.

The audit also reported about $8,200 in payments had been made to relatives of office employees, which could have violated anti-nepotism rules. Sherman said records listed payments to two people who appeared to be related to O'Donnell Price.

Sherman said a city accountant, Kim Hopkins, managed the imprest account. A message left at her office Thursday afternoon wasn't returned.

The auditors found an employee had under-reported the balance in one city bank account, and deposits were made there that city rules didn't allow.

The office also waited more than a year, on average, to close out some accounts that city rules said were supposed to be settled within 30 days. …

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