State officials expect to complete review of special funds Friday

  • FILE -- In this May 13, 2011 file photo Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, discusses the possible closure of 70 of California's state parks due to budget cuts, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. A former state parks official said he repeatedly told his superiors about more than $53 million hidden in two accounts that could have been used to help California avoid the threat of closing 70 state parks, a newspaper reported Thursday. Manuel Lopez, former deputy director of administrative services for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said he informed agency Director Ruth Coleman about a $20 million surplus in the Parks and Recreation Fund at least five times over a span of about five years, The Sacramento Bee reported. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)

SACRAMENTO — State finance officials on Friday hope to complete a much-anticipated review of hundreds of special funds that was started after the California parks department underreported $53.8 million in two accounts.

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is reconciling the amounts in all the state's 560 special funds, which receive money directly from users, to make sure the balances match what has been reported to the finance department and the state controller. Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said Wednesday the review is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

"We're going to have an extremely thorough explanation of what we found and what the differences are of significance and the reasons for those differences," he said.

Meanwhile, the attorney general's office is investigating the Department of Parks and Recreation to determine why agency officials deliberately underreported the money in two special funds.

U-T San Diego reported in its online edition Wednesday that finance officials were alerted to discrepancies in state park funds 15 years ago. The controller's office pointed out "significant variations in what was being reported by the parks departments as far back as 1997-98," Jacob Roper, a spokesman for the controller's office, told the newspaper by email.

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