The County (not available) spending

By:  Diane Benjamin

Total spending by vendor is NOT available on the County website.  This means nobody at the County really knows where taxpayer money is spent!

Numerous committees approve their own bills for payment.  The only place we can see them is by month and by committeeNO totals – even by committee.  The reports are also in an unusable format.

A business owner couldn’t function without knowing totals by vendor, but your elected officials somehow can.  (Or maybe they really can’t since property taxes were raised again in November)

A County official told me  a list of consultants paid by the County was not given to the FBI agents investigating former Board Chairman Matt Sorensen’s indictment.  I really hope he wasn’t telling me the truth so as not to jeopardize the investigation, but the story in today’s paper appears to confirm it.  If the FBI wasn’t asked to search for specific names of consultants, I have no confidence the investigation was complete.

Since Sorensen was indicted on Wire Fraud, the FBI must have been able to trace payments to him.  If the County didn’t ask the FBI to check the same documents  for names of consultants paid by the County, the report they issued is meaningless.

The local story says companies investigated were ones Sorensen listed on his required economic interest statement filed with the County.  Gee guys, the State Farm consultant involved in the indictment wasn’t listed.  Obviously fraud doesn’t need a direct connection to take place!

The County attempted to thwart my efforts to get a complete list of vendors and payments.  I finally worked with the Attorney General’s office to obtain a list in a usable format.  A reader then created a program to extract data – the file provided by the County was too big to use.  The County did redact some names – mostly juror payments.  Small amounts listed with no names are probably those.

We need to make a list of consultants ourselves.

This is a link to a PDF of all payments in 2015:

This is a link to the same file in a spreadsheet format:

Besides consultants, there are lots of other interesting payments.  They like to eat on your dime too.  I have other files with more detail if needed.

Please let me know what you find!

I adore my readers – I have many people willing to help and give me tips.  I wouldn’t be able to know about or investigate all these stories without you!  Thanks.




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