• Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

13 Investigates: Fountain finance director reviews City of Florence financial issues

FLORENCE, Colo. (KRDO) — The City of Fountain’s finance director went to Florence City Hall this week to help review financial concerns, according to Fountain City Manager Scott Trainor.

Trainor said the Fountain Finance director was there on Wednesday to provide another set of eyes on whatever policies or issues the City of Florence wanted them to look at.

This comes after 13 Investigates uncovered missing taxpayer money tied to unauthorized interest-free loans to Florence city executives and staff from 2013 to 2018.

Last week, the Florence Police Department was also suspended from a federal program after failing to show auditors nearly $7,000 in military equipment they are borrowing from the federal government.

“Our understanding was that they already had an auditor looking at issues like the alleged interest-free payroll loans, the DRMO programs and others, but I believe they wanted our Finance Director to meet with their Finance Director to look at other broader issues post-audit.  Those items would likely be identified through their audit and our Finance Director would then have a better sense of whatever those issues are or were,” Trainor said in a statement to 13 Investigates.

The Fountain Police Department is not assisting in any type of investigation at this time, according to Police Chief Chris Herberer.

“Our Chief, Chris Heberer, has been coordinating directly with their Chief and they have decided that it’s best to hold off so as to not get in the way of anything CBI may be doing,” the City of Fountain said in a statement.

13 Investigates has repeatedly asked questions of Florence Interim City Manager Tom Piltingsrud over the last few weeks regarding various corruption allegations and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s active investigation into the city. He has largely not answered specific questions. KRDO NewsChannel 13 is also seeking to get back on the City of Florence’s press release lists but Piltingsrud has not responded to that request either.

Piltingsrud has responded to Florence citizens’ questions about previous confusion over what agency is investigating the City of Florence.

A Florence taxpayer’s email to Interim City Manager Tom Piltingsrud sent on April 5, 2022

Piltingsrud responded to the citizen the next day with lengthy responses to the questions, including answers about the city’s financial issues.

Here are Piltingsrud’s entire response to those questions:

  1. Without trying to be flippant, the definition of investigation is to search into so as to learn the facts.  If you are referring to a criminal investigation, then no, the City of Fountain is not conducting such an investigation.  They are simply here as another set of eyes to help learn the facts.  The City of Fountain finance expert is here today with the Florence Finance Officer looking into areas.  Obviously, if criminal activity were discovered by the Fountain expert then notice to the DA would be forthcoming. Police experts will be following the current fiscal assistance.
  2. The current audit by CPA Uli Keeley of Prospective Business Solutions, LLC has concluded the field audit.  That is the physical examination of financial documents on site.  CPA Keeley is now in the process of completing the written audit, which I expect will be received by the City in May.  All audits are a matter of public record. 
  3. The $280,00 “anomaly” discovered by Sunny Bryant was from a 2013 audit.  In 2013 and year’s prior, the Swimming Pool Fund was reported in the audited financial statements as an enterprise fund, on a full accrual basis.  In 2014, it was determined that the Swimming Pool Fund receives a substantial portion of its funds via transfer from eh General Fund, thus not qualifying to be reported as an enterprise fund (enterprise funds must be self-supporting.)  The reporting of the Swimming Pool Fund was therefore changed from an enterprise fund to a governmental fund.  Governmental Funds are reported on a modified accrual basis of accounting.  Since the only assets reported in the Swimming pool Fund were capital assets, the City’s beginning net position of the governmental activities of the governmental wide financial statements were restated to include the Swimming Pool Fund capital assts.  The beginning fund balance of the governmental funds did not require a restatement since the  Swimming Pool funds did not report a fund balance under the modified accrual basis of accounting.  Keeley email dated April 5, 2022.  As Keeley states, the “anomaly” was from 2013-2014–some 4 years prior–to the current Financial Officer assuming her duties. 
  4. I have not had any of my voice mails returned from the DA regarding the CBI.
  5. I can only agree with your statement regarding confusion of statements made regarding the CBI and the City of Fountain.  To the extent I may have contributed to some confusion I apologize.  I might ask KRDO to do the same, but I already know their answer.

If you have a tip or lead you want our team to look into, email us at [email protected].

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