As California Closed State Parks, 54 Million Found Unreported in Park Coiffers – Parks Director Resigns Amid Scandal
Ahhhhh, the left. They ought to just install direct deposit machines in their refrigerator’s freezer.
The director of California’s state parks system resigned Friday after officials discovered that her department had $54 million in unspent money in its accounts that it had not reported to the state finance department, even while the state said parks were so short of money that many needed to be closed.
Ruth Coleman, who had led the agency since 2003, stepped down, and the department’s second-in-command, Acting Chief Deputy Director Michael Harris, was fired.
California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said the state Attorney General’s Office will be investigating and the state Department of Finance will be conducting a comprehensive audit.
“It’s our goal to make sure we get to the bottom of this,” Laird said.
Laird said that the parks department had $20.4 million in an account that takes money from park entrance fees and concession contracts, and $33.5 million in the state’s off-highway vehicle fund, that the department had essentially kept shielded from the state finance department for more than a decade.
The disclosure comes at a politically difficult time for Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed for more than a year to close 70 state parks — one quarter of the entire park system — to save $22 million as part of efforts to balance the state’s budget.