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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman June 29, 2012

County fraud audit of transit hasn't happened -- but the feds are investigating

While Carlos Gimenez campaigned for Miami-Dade mayor, the county's transit agency was under fire for sloppy financial oversight and failure to follow federal procurement practices. Federal regulators went so far as to suspend grant payments due to oversight concerns.

On his campaign website in April 2011, Gimenez promised to make "much-needed changes at Transit," including "conducting a full independent external audit of the department to determine exactly where waste, inefficiencies and duplication exist, and implement reforms and strict standards of accountability.”

On Sept. 20, 2011, the Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously agreed to enter a contract with Crowe Horwath LLP to perform an independent audit of the financial statements for Miami-Dade Transit. According to background information about the audit vote, the county's charter requires annual independent external audits, including of the Miami-Dade Transit and the Operating Fund of the Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust.

County spokeswoman Suzy Trutie told us in an interview that this was a "financial audit" -- not a "fraud audit" that would look for waste and inefficiencies. The Federal Transportation Administration's Office of Inspector General has an investigation that remained underway in June.  (The Carlos-O-Meter has also evaluated a related promise to restore federal grant transit funding. It's currently rated In the Works.)

Crowe-Horwath submitted the audit in February. The purpose of the audit was to determine the accuracy of transit's financial statements, and the audit found that the statements were sound. The audit includes financial details, such as assets and liabilities, and information about debt, funding structure and pensions.

Gimenez promised an audit of the beleaguered transit department. The county commission entered a contract with an auditor, but this is a routine financial audit as required under the county charter -- not an audit for waste, inefficiencies and duplication as Gimenez promised.

The County has no plans for a fraud audit, since a financial audit was conducted as well as an FTA investigation, Trutie told us in June.

If Gimenez orders a fraud audit in the future, we will re-examine this item but for now we rate this Promise Broken.

Our Sources

Carlos Gimenez campaign website, "Sky-rocketing gasoline prices and fixing county transit," April 27, 2011

Miami-Dade County, Report of Crowe-Horwath auditors, Feb. 16, 2012

Miami Herald"Feds: Miami-Dade broke rules in choosing new Metrorail trains; Miami-Dade Transit," Nov. 29, 2011

Miami Herald"Miami-Dade Transit Agency's financial woes drag on," June 21, 2011

Miami-Dade County, Commission meeting minutes, Sept. 20, 2011

Miami-Dade County, Transportation segment audit price comparison, Dec. 19, 2011

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade county spokeswoman, Dec. 19-28, 2011

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