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L.B. Centennial Finances Proper, City Audit Shows

May 08, 1988|ROXANA KOPETMAN | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — A city audit of the nonprofit corporation running the Long Beach centennial celebration found nothing wrong with how officials have presented their financial report or how they are running the activities.

In an audit that the City Council is scheduled to receive Tuesday, city Auditor Robert E. Fronke said he examined a financial report by the International City Celebration Inc. and concluded that "nothing came to our attention to indicate that the above referenced centennial report is not presented fairly in all material aspects, or that the board and executive committee have not appropriately set policy and given direction to the centennial."

The auditor examined centennial activities at the request of Councilman Ray Grabinski, who had said he wanted "to allay some of the fears" that had been expressed by some of the sponsors.

Representatives of several restaurants and other organizations have said the centennial committee misled them into believing that by becoming sponsors they would receive substantial advertising support. IDM Corp., which is the managing partner in the World Trade Center, also withdrew its $50,000 sponsorship pledge.

Celebration Stayed Within Budget

Richard Sargent, president of International City Celebration, said his organization has "consistently adhered to our objectives" and stayed within budget. Fronke's positive review is what "we perceived would happen," he said.

Any misunderstandings about the organization were the result of a lack of self-promotion, according to Sargent. "We're not tooting our own horns," he said.

"What it comes down to is that we have not attempted to be a self-serving organization, because we go out of existence in October (when the centennial celebration ends)," Sargent said. "Our biggest failing, if you want to call it a failing, is that we're not a self-serving organization, and so we were not understood by the council and the public."

In the financial report examined by Fronke, Sargent stated that the organization had received almost $2 million in cash and in-kind services from corporate and other private sources for the celebration. The money is being spent on various activities promoting the city, including sports and musical events, Sargent said.

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