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Audit finds improper expenditure

Over $66,000 in legal and professional fees related to WhitworthCollege improvements were improper federal grant expenditures,according to a city audit for fiscal year 2000.

Over $66,000 in legal and professional fees related to WhitworthCollege improvements were improper federal grant expenditures,according to a city audit for fiscal year 2000.

City Auditor Verbalee Watts said the audit showed the city to bein good financial condition. However, the audit found that $66,921in legal and professional fee expenditures were not budgeted in anapplication for a grant the city received for Whitworth Collegerenovation and construction activities.

“In our opinion, it was an improper expenditure for it to comeout of the grant,” Watts said.

The city received the $1 million grant after city officials wentto Washington to meet with congressional leaders.

Citing City Engineer Carl Ray Furr’s instructions, City ClerkIris Rudman said the city had used general fund money to cover thefees that were incurred during city-assisted efforts to restoreLampton Auditorium and some other campus work. The city sought torecoup the expenditures from grant funds.

The grant was for construction, and there was no line item inthe grant application to allow for legal and professional feeexpenditures. Rudman said the money in question has been returnedand remains available for future construction-related Whitworthefforts, such as water system improvements.

“It’s gone back into the grant to be used again,” Rudmansaid.

Rudman said Furr is working to revise the grant budget toinclude a line-item for legal and professional fees.

“In the future, those things can be included,” Rudman said.

The grant fund matter was the only instance of non-compliancefound during the audit.

Rudman said a copy of the city’s audit has been sent to the U.S.Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A federal follow-up audit isa possibility, but Watts estimated the chances of another audit atone in a 1,000.

The audit determined the city to be a high-risk auditee. Wattssaid the reason for that was the amount of state and federalfunding assistance the city receives.

“We’re getting a lot of federal and state monies,” Watts said.”We want to be sure we’re handling them properly.”