SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The former organizers of a yearlong celebration of Balboa Park's centennial did not misuse city funds but didn't always follow proper procedures either, according to a report released Wednesday by the San Diego City Auditor.
Balboa Park Centennial Inc. was formed by the city to put on a big public celebration of the park's 100th birthday, but the group disbanded when it failed to find major sponsors. Centennial planning is now being handled by the city and the park's cultural organizations.
BPCI faced allegations that some of the $1.6 million received from the city was misspent, with financial records kept from public view.
"In our analysis of BPCI's expenditures, we found that BPCI complied with the funding agreement's use of funds requirements," the audit says.
It goes on to say the range of allowable expenses were broad, but both the spending and required reporting to the city met the guidelines.
On the other hand, the organization did not fully comply with a section of a memorandum of understanding with the city that governs procurement of goods and services when it came to hiring contractors to help plan and carry off the celebration, according to the auditor.
"We found several instances where BPCI awarded contracts without going through the required procurement processes," the audit says.
The finding, however, was qualified by the auditor's reference to communications from BPCI to the City Attorney's Office that sought guidance on such matters.
The study found that contractors, vendors and executives delivered on what they were hired to do, given the broad scope of work set forth in the contracts.
Among other issues found in the audit:
-- city oversight of BPCI was limited, though some provisions of the funding agreement and MOU should have led to more stringent examination of the organization, which could have warned city officials of impending problems;
-- planning was disrupted when former Mayor Bob Filner took office and brought with him a grander vision of what the celebration could be;
-- local corporations were not enthusiastic about sponsorship opportunities;
-- philanthropic donations were not believed to be sufficient enough to defray costs, and the potential dropped further when a plan to remove cars from the center of the park was detailed by a court ruling; and
-- the scandal that surrounded Filner might have dried up any remaining sponsorship or donation possibilities.
City management and BPCI officials generally agreed with the findings of the audit, and some detailed comments were sprinkled throughout the report, the audit says.
Gerry Braun, who served as BPCI's spokesman, declined to comment.
Several dogs are in the custody of San Diego County, after a Lomita woman reported that her six dogs were attacked and some killed by a group of pit bulls.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.
The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, which prompted the closure of many federal operations, such as national parks and monuments and that included the shutdown of Cabrillo National Monument.
Chilly temperatures and scattered showers started the weekend. Temperatures at the coast and inland communities hovered around 60 degrees with some areas of San Diego County receiving rain during the morning hours.
A transient accused of fatally stabbing a man after they got into an argument near a 7-Eleven store in Poway pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.
Coastal rail closures could complicate the commute for the thousands of people expected at Women's Marches set for downtown San Diego and San Marcos Saturday, though additional transit options are being made available.
A man arrested in the doctor's lounge at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa after claiming to be an anesthesiologist pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of treating the sick without a certificate.
People who bought new homes in Otay Ranch's Village of Escaya can start moving in Friday - later than planned but after the developer took steps to address methane found at the site.
Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico found their imposing heights should stop border crossers, The Associated Press has learned, a finding that’s likely to please security hawks but raise concerns about costs and environmental damage.