New Mexico State Auditor Wayne Johnson sent a letter Tuesday to officials with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communites (RCLC) advising them that his office is engaging in a special audit of the orgainzation.
Los Alamos Deputy County Manager Steve Lynne today confirmed receipt of the letter from the state auditor and addressed the upcoming special audit.
“As one of nine entities who belong to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, and as posted yesterday in local news media in a press release from State Auditor Wayne Johnson’s office, I can confirm that Los Alamos County has received the March 13 letter requesting a special audit,” Lynne said. “Los Alamos County is the fiscal agent for the RCLC and will be cooperating fully with the State Auditor’s investigation as outlined in the letter. The County will make available all records that it has in its possession to comply with the audit. No further details or timeline have been established with the State Auditor’s office regarding this matter.”
The state auditor released a statement Tuesday explaining that the designation for the special audit comes after serious concerns surfaced about travel and entertainment reimbursements, including reimbursements for alcoholic beverages, baseball tickets, and first class flights using taxpayer money, possible double reimbursements and procurement issues.
The RCLC is a publicly-funded coalition of nine cities, towns, counties and pueblos near the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The group was founded in 2011 to lobby DOE and LANL. A contract was awarded to Andrea Romero Consulting, LLC, for Executive Director Services for the RCLC.
“There are enough concerns here to warrant a close look by an independent public accountant to make sure that all state laws were followed in the expenditure of public money,” Johnson said Tuesday. “We have seen expenditures for items like baseball tickets and $28 for a single glass of “Whistling Pig” whiskey. We don’t know the full story, but an independent audit will reveal if there are violations of the law and a misuse of public money.”
The audit also will look to see if RCLC board members and/or Andrea Romero Consulting, LLC, received double reimbursements for mileage, per diem, or other expenditures. There also are issues of procurement that will be investigated.
Copy of letter sent by New Mexico State Auditor Wayne Johnson to RCLC officials: