Another audit: Criminal Justice Authority blows through $12 million surplus

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The same accounting firm that audited the Tulsa County Industrial Authority also audited the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority (TCCJA), and Urban Tulsa covered it in their March 17th issue, in a story by G. W. Schulz entitled "Who's Minding the Jail?"

After bond indebtedness from construction of the county lockup was retired in 2001, $12 million remained. The report shows the Justice Authority finished off what was left of the $12 million this year, $1.6 million, and continued on into the red reaching a $2.9 million deficit, which the authority has scrambled to cover with funds from other county entities. In other words, the authority this year spent $4.5 million more than it took in from sales tax revenue.

The story goes on to describe how the problem was finally uncovered. It also tells why the overview committee for the jail sales tax didn't spot the problem -- the overview committee has no teeth.

Committee Chair Robert Breuning said the oversight board is not permitted to examine the Justice Authority’s major decisions until “after the fact.” He said authority attorney Jim Orbison “scolded” the committee for attempting to inform the authority that the proposed use of a detox center to save money would cost significantly more than had been forecasted.

“Our duty was not to advise, but observe,” Breuning said the committee was told. “But after the fact, there was no reason to observe.”

I had gotten out of the habit of reading Urban Tulsa, but it appears now that they are committed to doing in-depth reporting on local issues. Thanks to G. W. Schulz and Urban Tulsa for digging into this story.

P. S. I'll be on KFAQ 1170 at 7:10 Wednesday morning to talk about the audit of the Tulsa County Industrial Authority.


The A Team said:

I think I might subscribe. It is a worthy investment if Urban Tulsa continues reporting the both sides of issues without the biased big local media machine fact spinning. Especially, if Urban Tulsa eventually gains enough subcriber's that it might consider going daily. Tulsa badly needs more daily local news outlets. Keep up the good work UTW and kudos to G.W. Shulz.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 29, 2005 10:39 PM.

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