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State opens audit into municipalities spending of CARES Act funds

Office of Policy and Management has asked towns for details on how they spent federal COVID funds
Credit: FOX61
Connecticut state capitol

HARTFORD, Conn — The Office of Policy and Management has notified cities and towns that it will be auditing their spending of federal funds distributed under the CARES act. 

OPM sent a letter dated November 19 that notified municipalities they will be required to submit a final report on the eligible expenditures of Coronavirus Relief Funds in January 2022. 

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The move comes after an FBI investigation into money spent in West Haven, which lead to the arrest of two town employees. West Haven employee and state Rep. Michael DiMassa was charged with misusing federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The West Haven Democrat was arrested by FBI agents and charged with wire fraud. John Bernardo, another West Haven employee, was charged by federal authorities who said the pair created a company that received more than $600,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funds for services that were never provided.

Municipalities had been required to submit a draft report in October. The reports will be reviewed by the independent accounting firm of CohnResnick LLP.  

The state has previously required the information to be submitted for distributions ending June 30, 2020. 

RELATED: State Rep. Michael DiMassa accused of taking $636,000 in federal relief funds from West Haven

RELATED: West Haven employee arrested on wire fraud charges

The administration of West Haven Mayor Nancy Rossi has been embroiled in a scandal over the misuse of federal pandemic relief funds.

OPM told towns and cities that they should begin assembling, at a minimum, the following data in preparation of the audit:

  • Itemization of all CRF expenditures made to date with general ledger supporting documentation 
  • Detail of the necessity of such expenditures and connection to the public health pandemic Identification of the relevant eligibility terms in U.S. Treasury guidance to support the expenditures 
  • Municipal payroll policies regarding earning, approval and payout of compensatory time, overtime, and other leave time 
  • Municipal policies regarding signatory authority, purchasing/ procurement, and accounts payable 
  • Jurisdictional source(s), and documentation of such, that sets forth the governing and appointing authority for check signatory 
  • Any additional required data and documentation will be requested at a later time.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.

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