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Audit Faults L.A. for Lavish Agency

March 15, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles city officials failed to properly monitor their contract with the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., which racked up lavish expenses including more than $357,000 for sporting events and concerts and $16,000 for country club and gym memberships, according to an audit released Thursday by the city controller.

In the most detailed public accounting yet of spending by the nonprofit agency, Controller Laura Chick said the city shares some of the blame for $1.2 million in questionable expenses she identified.

"The city was lax in its monitoring and the EIDC board was lax in its oversight," Chick said. "No one was minding the store, and when that happens, funny stuff can occur."

The lavish spending contributed to the EIDC running up a $981,578 deficit by mid-2001, according to the audit, which was conducted by the private accounting firm of Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates. The agency has since cut spending by $1 million and is back on solid financial ground, officials said.

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