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Ventura County Focus | Countywide

Mahon Says Harbor Audit Met Guidelines

April 28, 1998|CHRIS CHI

Hoping to deflect accusations of favoritism surrounding a county audit of the Channel Islands Harbor, Auditor-Controller Thomas O. Mahon released a report Monday that states his review met federal guidelines for objectivity and accuracy.

Mahon has come under fire by several county officials and political opponents in connection with the audit.

They have argued that the review may have been influenced by political favoritism in part because the county General Services Agency oversaw the harbor for much of the five-year period inspected by accountants.

The agency is headed by Peter Pedroff, who managed Mahon's 1994 campaign for auditor and recently contributed $100 to his reelection campaign.

To defuse the charges, Mahon asked the accounting firm of Macias, Gini & Co. in Sacramento to review the harbor audit. The firm concluded that "the Channel Islands Performance Audit was made in accordance with the fieldwork and reporting standards for performance audits" laid out by federal officials.

In a news release, Mahon, who is running for reelection against Camarillo businessmen Stephen Maulhardt, attributed the controversy to "election year criticism."

"This report clearly justified the audit process," he said.

In the audit, Mahon's staff concluded that the county did not use state money to subsidize local parks, which would have violated state law. Auditors were inconclusive, however, as to whether money was indirectly funneled to the parks. It stated that shoddy record keeping by county officials made a conclusion impossible.

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