Account analysis shows $Millions in missing money designated for fire department while emergency vehicles could not get basic maintenance
“iii. We recommend:
1. The $131,850.49 unaccounted for deposit be forwarded to the proper agencies for further investigation.
2. An account analysis be performed for each of the 146 Special Revenue Funds to ensure deposits and journal entries are posted correctly.
3. A Due To/Due From analysis be performed for each of the 146 Special Revenue Funds to determine any inter-fund activity not recorded.
4. That all checks received for Fund 224 services be deposited into the Fund 224 bank account.
5. That all teller deposits received for Fund 224 be deposited into the Fund 224 bank account.
Account Analysis report prepared by City of Gary Accountant Whittaker and Associates
August 28, 2018-City of Gary Accountant Curtis Whittaker has recommended referring a portion of an account analysis which he performed for further investigation. The account analysis was ordered after Council Member LaVetta Sparks Wade determined that there were millions of dollars missing from the fund which is comprised of Ambulance/EMS fees and whose use is restricted by City Ordinance. The fund is supposed to be used to keep fire apparatus in good working order and provide fire safety equipment for firefighters. During the time period in question- January, 2015 through March, 2018- firefighters repeatedly complained of faulty equipment and lack of equipment.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has repeatedly stated that there was no criminal activity associated with the wrongful transfers which spanned 3 years and totaled over $8M. Whittaker does not detail what “appropriate agencies” should investigate.
While the Mayor and her accountant attempt to focus attention on the $131,850.49 for which there is no paper trail, those items for which there is a paper trail may be more troubling. For example, on page 12 of the report there is a notation of a $1M transfer for a “5 alarm payment” with a footnote that “* 5 Alarm payment of $798,015 is a vendor expense for Fund 275 FEMA Grant GFD.” Not noted is where the money ultimately went. If the 5 alarm payment is $798,015, even assuming the payment was made with the $1M transfer, where is the other $202,000.00? Additionally, what happened to the grant money that the City received to pay the 5 alarm payment?
Similarly the account shows nearly monthly transfers to the Blight Elimination Fund which is a fund administered by the Gary Redevelopment Commission (RDC). All blight elimination activities are funded by grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Indiana Department of Housing and Community Development. To make matters worse, Gary has chosen a select few connected contractors to benefit from home demolitions (more on this later). According to the account analysis, $1,285,478.86 was wrongly transferred to the Blight Elimination Fund.
Finally, it appears that $93,000 of money designed to provide equipment to firefighters went to pay the bond on the Centier Bank Building located at 504 Broadway. Gazette readers will recall that the Mayor pushed through a bond resolution which provided $2.5M for insider Vance Kenney to purchase and rehabilitate the building. The purchase price was $250,000.00 and Kenney did not take one penny out of his pocket for the purchase or repairs. The bond payment for the building is paid by the City of Gary and the monthly payment is $93,000.00. On page 13 of the report, you will see the following notation:
Apr ’17 10 224 18.98 04/13 Fund 446 BNY Hud 108 Oct ’17 10 224 93,000.00 10/13 Fund 446 Sec 108 Debt Srv