Despite sponsorships from the L. A. Clippers, WOW Media and KJLH, the city of Inglewood is short of funds to pay outstanding invoices related to the Taste of Inglewood. The Inglewood Police Department is requesting to dip into Asset Forfeiture Funds to pay an outstanding invoice for the Taste of Inglewood that was submitted after the event.
Meridian Defense Group is owed $7,661.50 for setting up barriers at the event, and although the payment was to come from the General Fund, it is now being covered by asset forfeiture funds which are typically earmarked for gang intervention programs. It appears to serve as a “piggy bank” to the city as described by former Accounting Manager Barbara Ohno.
“On a regular basis, the City, at the direction of Defendant Mayor Butts, violated the rules of the program by tapping into the Asset Forfeiture Fund to pay for unauthorized expenses, again because there was insufficient money in the General Fund to cover such expenses,” the lawsuit states.Barbara Ohno, former city of Inglewood Budget & Accounting Manager
Inglewood Planning Commissioner David Rice is the creator/organizer of Taste of Inglewood.
The city has sufficient funds in their nonprofit fund, Inglewood Community Services Corporation, which is used to pay for expenses for various city events (Holiday Tree Lighting, Turkey Giveaway, etc.) so it is unclear why those funds aren’t being tapped into for the Commissioner’s event.
CSG Consulatants, will be paid an additional $140,000 to continue providing plan check services to the Building and Safety department. It is not clear why the city’s union don’t have issue with their members work being outsourced.
Peculiar invoices submitted by TOT Housing Solutions are expected to be paid from. CDBG funds for emergency housing for three senior citizens. The invoices fail to describe either the housing location or the landlords. The staff report also lacks an agreement detailing payment of rent and food that are itemized on the invoices.
Public Works is requesting $953,350 to lease an additional (21) cars, with an option to buy. The staff reports the city having a fleet of 500 vehicles of which 12 need to be replaced.
One of the cars listed as needing to be replaced is the Chevy Tahoe Mayor James Butts totaled when he ran a red light at an entrance to the University of Southern California (USC).
It is unbelievable that the city has a 500 car fleet, when the police department has less than 200 on duty officers and perhaps less than 100 department staffers who drive city cars to perform work for the water, public works and parks and recreation departments.
This is the city’s approx. third request to upgrade city vehicles which totals nearly $4 million dollars. In February of this year, the city spent $1 million dollars to replace 15 vehicles.
Finally, the Finance Department is formally requesting the city council adopt the FY 2019-2020 budget which shows a measly $92,000 surplus.