A city administrator warns that the ‘true nature of the city’s cash deficit was buried for many years’ by various accounting maneuvers.

By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
March 31, 2011

Montebello is so short on cash it may have trouble making payroll or paying its bills in the near future if officials don’t take “immediate corrective action,” a city administrator warned this week.

Interim City Manager Peter Cosentini, in a statement released late Tuesday, also revealed that “the true nature of the city’s cash deficit was buried for many years” because of various accounting maneuvers.

“Figuring out the math has been challenging, given the lack of sufficient documentation provided as well as the lack of transparency of individuals who prepared and or gave direction [for] the many transactions,” he wrote.

In an interview Wednesday, Cosentini said it appeared that former finance officials had been moving money from fund to fund to hide the true nature of the city’s financial picture and make it seem as though Montebello had more money than it did. Cosentini said he could not explain why that would have been done.

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