City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

July 24, 2012
Sacramento officials begin to react to credit card scandal

City officials are beginning to react to the news that a mayoral aide resigned last week after it was revealed she allegedly racked up $9,000 in personal charges on her city-issued credit card. But questions remain on how the charges were made - and how they went unnoticed - in the first place.

City Auditor Jorge Oseguera said today that his office is expected to begin an audit of every city-issued credit card in September. That audit has been planned since February. While Oseguera did not know how many employees are granted credit cards, he said the cards are "used significantly throughout the city."

Meanwhile, City Manager John Shirey's office said he has "conferred with the Police Chief so that the matter can be reviewed for any possible criminal wrong doing."

Shirey's office has also begun auditing the credit card usage of Lisa Serna-Mayorga, a former City Council operations manager and, later, the director of constituent affairs for Mayor Kevin Johnson. Oseguera said he has not been asked to join that audit.

Serna-Mayorga resigned last week after it was revealed she made thousands of dollars in personal purchases on her city credit card, sources have told The Bee. Those charges included a trip to Disneyland, gasoline and groceries, according to the sources.

It is still unclear who - if anyone - approved Serna-Mayorga's credit card expenses. The charges in question were revealed during a review of her credit card at the end of the 2011/12 fiscal year in June, sources said.

Johnson and Serna-Mayorga have been close for many years. She has served on the board of St. HOPE Public Schools - the non-profit founded by Johnson that operates charter schools in Oak Park - worked on Johnson's 2008 mayoral campaign and was one of the mayor's first hires when he was elected.

"Lisa is somebody I love dearly," the mayor said today. "She has been a tremendous friend and supporter."

The mayor said Serna-Mayorga is "someone who feels very badly about a decision." Serna-Mayorga has reimbursed the city $9,000, according to sources.

Johnson said he was confident this incident was isolated.

"I don't fear this is a trend with city employees," he said, adding, "I think most people feel it's relatively contained."

The mayor added the city is "looking to make sure that safeguards (to avoid credit card abuse) are put into place."

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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