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Ex County Fleet Manager Claims Misuse of Funds

April 20, 2006

A former Orange County, Calif. fleet manager alleged in court this week that county officials used restricted federal funds and local taxes to lessen the impact of the 1994 bankruptcy, the Orange County Register reports.Barry Adams, 52, claims he was placed on administrative leave in February 2002 for raising these issues. Adams filed a lawsuit seeking damages for loss of income and retirement benefits. When the county went bankrupt, voters did not approve a sales tax to pay off the debt, the Register reports. With less money to work with, Adams alleges officials took restricted federal flood-control accounts and a public safety tax by boosting internal administrative costs.He claims that county officials:? Used federal flood-control funds to purchase a Lincoln Town Car for a county supervisor in 2000 instead of a cheaper car. ? Charged departments full price for gas but paid less because local governments aren't charged certain taxes.? Charged departments internal administrative costs based on the purchase of 50 computers for fleet services when his department had only 23.? Charged as much as a 45 percent markup on parts and contracted maintenance services to the sheriff’s department.The Sheriff's Department got bills as high as $1 million, Adams said, that were officially designated as "internal indirect costs." When he got complaints from the Sheriff Department, Adams said he could never get details on how those costs were calculated.The county declined comment to the Register on the allegations.
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