The State Auditor’s Findings on Spending Issues at Kentucky Emergency Management

Kentucky Emergency Management officials spent more than $100,000 in state funds on parties and other “questioned expenses”—and also threatened employees and altered documents to hide it, according to a report released Tuesday by the state auditor’s office.

The report will be referred to several agencies, including Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

WFPL’s Rick Howlett is working on a story about state Auditor Adam Edelen’s report.

Here’s Rick’s story: Auditor: Kentucky Emergency Management Misused Funds, ‘Caught Red-Handed’ Altering Documents

The full report is posted below. Here are some of the findings:

More Meals Than People?

Analysis of activity related to the GEMW for 2010, 2011, and 2012 identified spending that was not evidenced by sufficient supporting documentation to determine whether the expenditures were valid. These include conference meals, which appear to be served for a significantly greater number of individuals than could be accounted for based on the number of paid registrants plus KYEM employees.

‘Potentially Hostile Working Environment’

Discussions with former and current employees, supported by on site observations, identified a potentially hostile working environment that nurtured a culture of waste and abuse within the agency. The unfavorable and difficult working environment has led to several questionable expenditures and activities as identified within other findings of this report because the environment does not appear to support or motivate employees to identify waste, fraud, or abuse.

Invoices Altered

During the examination, serious questions arose as to the accuracy and adequacy of information provided by KYEM. Additional evidence and inquiry indicated invoices were intentionally altered by KYEM employees and/or by the Governor’s Emergency Management Workshop (GEMW) conference hotel at the request of KYEM, in order to conceal unallowable activity or to remain in compliance with state regulations.

‘Two Bedroom Waterfront Balcony Suite’

Review of the 2011 and 2012 GEMW contracts between KYEM and the conference hotel revealed the inclusion of conference concessions that potentially influenced the vendor selection for the conference location. The 2011 conference included one two-bedroom waterfront balcony suite complimentary for two nights. Based on the room’s rack rate, this added value totaled $1,350. In 2012, the contract between KYEM and the conference hotel included a complimentary waterfront balcony suite for three nights, with a total added value of $2,025 based on the room’s rack rate.

Here’s the report:

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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