Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
A California Fair Blew Taxpayer Money on Lobster, Wine
GV-Wire-1
By gvwire
Published 5 years ago on
August 21, 2019

Share

state auditor’s report released Tuesday details “gross mismanagement” of an unidentified fair district, as well as the failure of the California Department of Food and Agriculture to perform compliance audits of the state’s district fairs.

Headshot of John Alkire
“I want to ensure that the public knows The Big Fresno Fair is not the unidentified fair named in the State Auditor’s Office report.” — John C. Alkire, CEO of The Big Fresno Fair

“I want to ensure that the public knows The Big Fresno Fair is not the unidentified fair named in the State Auditor’s Office report,” said John C. Alkire, CEO of The Big Fresno Fair. “Unfortunately, reports like this cast a shadow over the positive impact of fairs throughout the State – working hard to serve their community and generate a positive economic impact on their region.”
Tulare County Fair CEO Pamela Fyock said her fair “absolutely” isn’t the one in the report either.
“We’re not the ones. … We have proper cash control and checks and balances,” Fyock said.
District associations hold local fairs and expositions that highlight California’s agricultural resources and products.

$125 Lobster Dinner and $96 Bottle of Wine

Employees racked up more than $132,000 in credit card purchases with no supporting receipts and another $130,000 of individual credit card purchases without the required approval of the CEO, the report said.
One employee misused state-owned equipment, materials and staff to perform side jobs, investigators said.
The association’s leaders “did not institute basic safeguards that could have prevented and discouraged improper activities,” the report said.

Side Jobs on the Taxpayers’ Dime

For example, a fair employee punched in at work, took a state vehicle to perform work on a side job, and then returned at day’s end to punch out on his time card.
Employees racked up more than $132,000 in credit card purchases with no supporting receipts and another $130,000 of individual credit card purchases without the required approval of the CEO, the report said.
The state also paid more than $5,100 for late fees and interest because the association didn’t pay its credit card bills on time, according to auditors.

Department of Food and Ag Failed in Oversight Role

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, which oversees the fair districts, “did not perform biannual compliance audits of the association that could have discovered and addressed many of these improper governmental activities,” the report said.
The ag department “takes the findings of the state auditor seriously and work is already underway to address many of the recommendations,” said Steve Lyle, its director of public affairs. That work includes adding internal auditors, boosting legal support and increasing training, he said in a statement.

Discipline of CEO and Employees Recommended

The audit recommends the department take disciplinary action against the district association’s CEO, maintenance supervisor, and other staff who engaged in improper activities and recoup funds from people who misused state resources.
The department must also strengthen oversight of the districts to protect state assets and prevent misuse of resources, auditors said.
(Associated Press contributed to this report.)
 

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

DON'T MISS

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

DON'T MISS

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

UP NEXT

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

UP NEXT

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

UP NEXT

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

UP NEXT

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

4 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

16 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

17 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

17 hours ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

18 hours ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

18 hours ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

19 hours ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

20 hours ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

20 hours ago

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

22 hours ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

You might have noticed that the tangy taste of pickles has taken over more than just the condiment aisle. From pickle-flavored popcorn to pi...

4 hours ago

4 hours ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

4 hours ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

4 hours ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

4 hours ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

16 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

17 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

17 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

18 hours ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend