Audit: $7M In Missing Fuel May Have Gone To Gas Up Personal Cars

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — City employees may have used taxpayer-purchased fuel for their own personal vehicles after an estimated $7 million in gasoline remains unaccounted for, according to an audit released Thursday.

City Controller Wendy Greuel told KNX 1070’s John Brooks a new report appears to show at least some employees disabled a $12 million fuel tracking system that was put in place over a decade ago.

“People overrode the system that normally would tell you which vehicle it is in, how it’s being used,” said Greuel.

The tracking systems used to inventory the nearly $29 million spent on buying 14 million gallons of gasoline, natural gas and diesel fuel to power vehicles including garbage trucks, helicopters and police cruisers can be bypassed either manually or with so-called “master cards” assigned to each of the city’s 141 fuel sites.

The tools to bypass the tracking system are supposed to be used only when normal systems fail. But auditors found they were used to dispense millions of gallons of fuel over a 22-month period beginning in 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Greuel said the lack of oversight is unacceptable considering both the cost and the scope of the tracking system.

“It’s unthinkable that you wouldn’t check each month,” she said. “The system was identified or put into place so that general managers on a monthly basis could identify where there were problems.”

Annually, Los Angeles spends over $460 million on commodity purchases and has more than 500 active commodity contracts, according to Greuel’s office.

The audit comes as commuters are ditching their cars for the Metro and other forms of mass transit amid record gas prices.

An unidentified man whose sister-in-law works for the city said not all public employees are as honest as she is.

“Most of ’em are, there are a lot of crooked ones too,” he said. “Scam the money and put it in their pockets.”

Greuel is scheduled to release her audit at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. steve says:

    bring the employees up on charges for defrauding the government. every last oneof them

  2. SKArn says:

    With a “bypass” on the tracking system, it seems it was diesigned for dishonesty.

  3. Hardmoney says:

    At retail prices, that comes out to 1.6 MILLION GALLONS of gas. And No One Noticed it being stolen! Maybe Mayor Villar knows who stole it.

  4. KOBE says:

    Nobody will get in trouble. The city of Los Angeles is one big scam. The devils world and the devil takes care of his people.

  5. asc says:

    how can you charge if you dont know who it is, they said the system was destroyed so they wouldnt know where the fuel went. duh!

  6. bob says:

    anyone who disabled their system needs to explain why, their supervisor who is suposed to audit use should know if the system was bypassed if not he’s fired.

    dismiss anyone who acted outside department guidelines

  7. Bruno says:

    I hope someone looks into L.A. County as well. I’ve heard employees are topping off at the county gas pumps for their personal vehicles.

  8. Kevin says:

    City employees MAY have used taxpayer-purchased fuel for their own personal vehicles after an estimated $7 million in gasoline remains unaccounted for, according to an audit released Thursday.

    Key work “MAY”. Has any employee been charged, or is this a system that just didn’t work.
    Media attention for Wendy Gruell.

  9. Jose De La Paz says:

    Viva Villaragosa thanks for bringing Mexican politics to LA! Corruption is so common, it is not even seen as wrong. This is typical. You can’t PAVE WILSHIRE BLVD but this is fine. Yeah, Thanks for embarrassing all of us who work hard and came here to get away from all that. I am ashamed of you.

  10. yjdraiman says:

    There is no one home to watch out for the tax payers revenue spending.

    It is time to do a full independent audit of all LA city Departments.

    YJ Draiman

  11. John F. says:

    Wendy Gruel trying to get elected for Mayor. She is presenting false information to the public. Wendy that is not a way to get elected. She has everyone believing city employees stole gas. What she fails to mention the type of fuel that most of the gallons consist of. It is LNG used for refuse vehicles. The monitoring system was put in bypass to fuel these trucks when it could not read the truck info.Sanitation did this so they can pick up your trash everyday. So no one stole fuel. Wendy get the facts straight.

  12. randy says:

    An unidentified man whose sister-in-law works for the city said not all public employees are as honest as she is. “Most of ‘em are, there are a lot of crooked ones too,” he said. “Scam the money and put it in their pockets.”

    Wow, what journalism and research! I smell a Pulitzer in the works!

  13. Barney Ruble says:

    WOW Corrupt LA city employees.

    Shocked and stunned. They learned
    corruption from there leader
    Mayor Tony Viagra,

    Ca wants high speed rail but LA can not
    even get the metro rail to go to Los Angeles Airport..
    Why because the corrupt unions do not want it.
    Parasites lving off the tax payer.

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