City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

August 8, 2012
Sacramento City Council expected to audit its credit card use

As the criminal probe into questionable credit card use at City Hall moves along, the City Council is expected Thursday to fund an external audit of credit card transactions by the mayor and council offices.

Based on a list provided Friday by the city, it appears that roughly a dozen employees in the mayor and council offices have active credit cards. There's at least one card in every council office, but no employees in Mayor Kevin Johnson's office have cards, according to the city.

Council members want to hire an external auditor to look at their credit card use because the city auditor answers to the council and having him conduct the inquiry would represent a conflict of interest.

Council members Angelique Ashby, Jay Schenirer and Darrell Fong are the only elected officials with credit cards.

Fong has already provided his credit card statements - and those of two staff members - to me. The charges include purchases of produce to help promote and launch a new farm stand in Valley Hi, office supplies and tickets for charitable events.

Interest in a council audit stems from the news last month that former mayoral aide Lisa Serna-Mayorga had resigned after it was discovered she had allegedly made $9,000 in personal charges on her city-issued credit card. The police department is conducting an investigation into Serna-Mayorga.

Meanwhile, I'm told it could be another week before the city releases any of the credit card records sought by The Bee and other media outlets in the wake of the credit card scandal.

The city sent a letter to The Bee late Friday saying it was withholding the records as the criminal investigation unfolds. What has raised some eyebrows is the fact that the city is not just holding on to Serna-Mayorga's credit card records; city officials are refusing to release the credit card records of any city employee during the investigation.

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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 rlillis@sacbee.com

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