SANTA ANA ( — An independent investigation found Orange County Fire Authority managers did not retaliate against employees after complaints surfaced alleging  thousands of businesses were charged for inspections that were not performed, the authority said Monday.

In 2012, the OCFA admitted to billing businesses for hazardous materials inspections that could not be verified. An estimated $1.7 million was slated to be refunded for some 4,700 inspections.

OCFA lawyers hired an impartial investigator to look into anonymous complaints of retaliation against employees made to a fraud hotline in January and February 2013.

Batallion Chief Kelly Zimmerman said the investigator interviewed 29 current and former employees and reviewed dozens of documents and concluded “the evidence did not support any of the allegations of retaliation brought against OCFA management, so the claims were not sustained.”

(©2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)


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