AG Sets Up Tip Hotline for State Park Scandal
The California Attorney General's Office has launched a tip hotline and special e-mail address to collect information for its investigation into financial fraud at the state parks department.
At the request of Gov. Jerry Brown, the attorney general launched an investigation into the discovery earlier this month of $54 million in "hidden assets" in two special funds at state parks, first reported by The Sacramento Bee on July 20. The department accumulated the money over at least 12 years by not accurately reporting fund balances to the Department of Finance, as required by long-standing state policy, the newspaper reported.
At least $20 million of that money could have been used to avoid the painful park closures, cutbacks and takeovers that have played out over the past two years as a result of state budget cuts.
State employees and members of the public with relevant information are urged to share what they know by calling the attorney general at (916) 324-7561, or by emailing it to ParksInvestigation@doj.ca.gov.
The agency will focus on understanding how and why the $54 million in surplus money accumulated. It will not probe the scandal involving an unauthorized vacation buyout for parks headquarters employees, which it previously investigated and which The Bee covered on July 15.