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City Prepares to Seek Restitution of Alleged Misspending : Lawsuit: Council wants to scrutinize the petty cash account for possible litigation involving 'Dolly' Vollaire.

August 29, 1993|LEE ROMNEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BRADBURY — In preparation for a civil lawsuit seeking restitution, the city of Bradbury is scrutinizing more closely the amount of money former City Manager Aurora "Dolly" Vollaire may have misspent, city officials said.

The council earmarked $3,000 at its regular meeting last week to "do a detailed accounting of the petty cash account" and organize the information in a database that would be used in litigation, City Atty. C. Edward Dilkes said.

A report submitted in May by former city auditors from the Pasadena firm of McGladry & Pullen indicates Vollaire probably spent at least $84,500 in taxpayer money on personal luxury items. The auditors reviewed the petty cash account but did not detail each expenditure.

The district attorney's office is investigating Vollaire, who allegedly misspent money from the city's credit card, petty cash and other accounts.

"It's simply the last step in a process that has been unfolding for a long time," Dilkes said of plans to prepare a civil suit. "There appears to be an impasse in the amount of money we feel she owes and the amount she is willing to pay voluntarily, and I don't see any way around this but a lawsuit."

Dilkes said he did not know when the city will file a civil action, but said the city has always been committed to getting the money back.

"The council has always intended to collect all of the money that's owed, by whatever means is permissible," Dilkes said.

The city previously rejected a $40,000 restitution offer from Vollaire's attorney, Rayford Fountain.

Fountain said he could not comment on a civil action at this point.

"I have had no official communication from the city to that effect. If they take legal action on the civil end, we'll just have to deal with it when we get the paperwork," Fountain said.

Meanwhile, the City Council last week appointed Bradbury resident Richard Mandroian as the new city treasurer and hired a new auditing firm, Moreland & Associates of Newport Beach.

With input from a residents committee, the city broadened the roles of both the treasurer and city auditors in an effort to keep tighter reins on city finances.

Although Vollaire submitted some cut-up and altered receipts to back up purchases she made with city money, and submitted other intact receipts from dealers of clothing and fine china, neither the treasurer nor auditors checked the receipts. The City Council authorized most reimbursements to Vollaire, but rarely questioned her use of the funds.

Four-year volunteer treasurer Betty Christensen acknowledged in a July 20 resignation letter that the new guidelines and two-year term limit precluded her from the job, and wished the City Council "the very best."

Although Mandroian is not an accountant, interim City Manager Keene N. Wilson noted that he is a businessman, and added that the treasurer's job description is now outlined in more detail.

"The purpose of the treasurer is to serve as a double-check for the city's financial transactions. (Mandroian) will be reviewing documents to make sure that they were in fact properly signed and properly tallied," Wilson said. "He will be looking at receipts."

The new auditing firm was selected from four firms that submitted proposals. McGladry & Pullen was invited to submit a proposal but chose not to, Wilson said.

In addition to conducting a standard yearly audit, as McGladry & Pullen did, Moreland & Associates has been retained to conduct an internal control audit for 1993, and follow it with a yearly internal control review, Wilson said.

The firm also is on retainer.

"They will provide training to our staff on accounting procedures, and Mike Moreland is available to us on a phone-call basis if we have a question regarding finance or accounting," Wilson said.

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