State Parks admits $54 million hidden surplus

monolaketufaFor many months, the Mono Lake Committee and a list of other supporters worked tirelessly to save the Mono Lake State Tufa Reserve from threatened State closure.  Now, the Associated Press has revealed that the director of California State Parks and other officials “sat on nearly $54 million in surplus money for years while parks were threatened with closure over budget cuts.”

News reports said that this scandal came to light in the past two days.  The State Parks Director Ruth Coleman stepped down, and her deputy Michael Harris was fired. Coleman claimed she had no knowledge of the huge surplus.

Initially, State officials announced the impending closure of more than 70 parks, including the Mono Lake Tufa Reserve in Lee Vining.  Those interested in keeping all park facilities open, launched a massive letter-writing campaign and then came up with a plan to charge for parking. Suddenly last month, park officials announced that most of the 70 parks set for closure would remain open.

According to news reports, the State Parks and Recreation fund held $20.4 million more than reported, and the Off-Highway Vehicle fund held $33.5 million more than reported.  Officials called it an accounting error.

During efforts to save parks, details came out that many, if not most parks, actually make money or cost the State very little money.

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vince Townsend
vince Townsend
9 years ago

The rabbit hole runs very Deep in the Gooog-Ol-Boy Network 🙂

sierragrl
sierragrl
9 years ago

As far as I can tell, they seemed to not know about these special funded ‘funds’….some reporters (not KSRW) are using inflamatory terms,like these funds were ‘hidden’ as if for some lurid purpose, As big al pointed out, they didn’t spend these funds or embezzle them. sounds like ‘finding’ them… Read more »

John Barton
John Barton
9 years ago

I can understand an “accounting oversight” of a few thousand $$ but $54 million? Something smells very bad about his and I hope our politicians will push for an independent accounting of this division and then pick another one randomly and do an audit to see what other departments/agencies are… Read more »

jose chavez
jose chavez
9 years ago

itsa liek when i hide money from my wife!!!

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
9 years ago

Remember this sordid little story when you vote on the tax increases in November.

upthecreek
upthecreek
9 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

also remember the little bullet train they funded.THIS MONTH
GGW

steve
steve
9 years ago

33.5 million in o.h.v. funds?….use some to open the roads!!!!!

amused
amused
9 years ago

It makes you wonder how many other agencies have surplus money that is hidden behind “accounting errors” while the average person struggles to survive.

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

I hope a grand jury is looking into this. This sounds like dirty politics.

Jerry
Jerry
9 years ago

I bet they were planning to embezzle that money!

Truth Seeker
Truth Seeker
9 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

They gave $600,000.00 of the Off-Highway fund to the Friends Of the Inyo to close our roads on our lands. The FOI was happy to apply for that grant to serve as puppets fortheir USFS masters. They have yet to admit publically how much their people get paid to close… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Truth Seeker

Truth,

I did find out from FOI that they pay workers out on the roads $15 to $19 per hour and that they advertised for the jobs in local papers and elsewhere. Paul McFarland indicated that very few are actually members of FOI.

Benett

Truth Seeker
Truth Seeker
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Thanks for the Follow up Benett. Now FOI has to come clean on how much they are taking off the top for administration and how much of our fees Paul FOI member McFarland is taking personally for his road closing efforts.

Paul McFarland
Paul McFarland
9 years ago
Reply to  Truth Seeker

Howdy there “Truth Seeker” – I make around 19.50 an hour without benefits. How about you? Each week I average at least a day to a day and half of unpaid volunteer time working to coordinate volunteer projects for the other work that needs to get done on the Forest… Read more »

Jerry C.
Jerry C.
9 years ago
Reply to  Truth Seeker

Mr. Paul, As far as we know, “Truth Seeker” isn’t taking any green sticker tax monies to fund his “environmental” business. Why should he have to tell us what he makes? And before calling Truth Seeker out (by using real name), maybe your website should display all of its pictures,… Read more »

sierragrl
sierragrl
9 years ago
Reply to  Truth Seeker

wow, 5 thumbs down for answering truthseekers questions honestly…I guess people aren’t interested in facts…

Truth Seeker
Truth Seeker
9 years ago
Reply to  Truth Seeker

Great attempt a deflection Paul. If FOI is so proud of what they are doing in closing roads to their neighbors, why is there nothing about it on their web site? They should have pictires of you and your crew installing barriers all over Inyo and Mono counties. I am… Read more »

upthecreek
upthecreek
9 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

@ Jerry.
give them a break.. They wanted to save it for their Huge Public Pensions

Govt gone wild.
They should all be fired for the so called accounting Error.

vince Townsend
vince Townsend
9 years ago
Reply to  upthecreek

Yup exactly, THEY wanted that money $$$ for their Fat Public Pensions and ya’ll would’ve paid for it 🙁

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

Yeah right Jerry lol .. they were hoarding it, not using it in the fiscal years, for what ever reason .. at the fiscal year end .. instead of spending what they had for the fiscal year’s budget all year, they kept it, rolled it over to the next year’s… Read more »