LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has cut off funding to two affiliated nonprofit institutes after questions surfaced about how they spent more than $40 million in ratepayers’ money.

The two entities were established to improve relations between management and labor after a series of department job cuts in the late 1990s.

READ MORE: Armed Man Shot, Wounded By Deputies During Lancaster Standoff

While the institutes receive as much as $4 million a year, DWP Commissioner Jill Barad Banks told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO both DWP management and unions have been very slow in providing answers about how that money has been spent.

READ MORE: Motorcycle Collides With Sheriff's Patrol Car On Interstate 105

“It’s like they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Banks said. “Why can’t they provide this information, particularly when it’s the ratepayers…it’s their money.”

The Commission on Tuesday asked City Controller Ron Galperin to carry out a full audit of the trust accounts.

MORE NEWS: Meeting Held To Help Curb Rising Violent Crime In Melrose Corridor

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)