Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is calling for an audit of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, which oversees the city’s finances, after an investigation by The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found that nearly all of the authority’s records have been destroyed.
The newspaper reports that more than 90 percent of the ICA’s spending records were misplaced or destroyed. Peduto called the revelation “very troubling,” and said he wants to know why the ICA can’t find its own budget documents.
“When oversight has no oversight, and has been granted no oversight by government, then there’s a very serious problem,” Peduto said on Monday.
The ICA is a financial oversight group formed by state legislators in 2004 to bring order and guidance to Pittsburgh lawmakers dealing with the city's extreme financial distress. At the time, hundreds of city employees had been laid-off, some services were unreliable and the city’s credit rating had been downgraded.
Last week, the board appointed three new members bringing it's total back to the full five. The ICA operated with only two -- not enough for quorum -- for several months.
The lack of financial documents, combined with allegations that the oversight board handed out no-bid contracts, prompted Peduto on Monday to call on the new ICA board chair to conduct an audit.
The city is also suing the ICA to release $20 million dollars in gambling tax revenue that Peduto said is being withheld illegally.
“When you have one group that has been holding on to $20 million of taxpayers’ money, handing out contracts without giving any bids, then saying, ‘We don’t know where we spent the money’ – that should raise a lot of red flags,” Peduto said.
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale recommended in November that the ICA be dissolved after reviewing its operating budget. He recommended the city apply all state gaming revenue toward pension costs.
DePasquale said at the time that efforts could be better put elsewhere now that Pittsburgh is in better financial shape.