An audit by Kemper CPA Group of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and the Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau has revealed that the chamber owes the city $340,820.
Administrative costs have drawn particular attention and 2011 the costs were $105,430 and by 2014 the costs had risen to 162,456.
Receipts were lacking for credit card charges and in some quarters it was said that there was co-mingling of chamber money and tax dollars.
More to the point, the chamber was stealing tax dollars to cover their own expenses.
The corruption in Stanislaus County will not allow for prosecution by District Attorney Birgit Fladager of individuals that were involved.
After a reasonable amount of delay to let the story cool Turlock and the chamber made a deal whereby the chamber would pay the city $250,000 in monthly payments of $675 a month for 25 years.
It is predictable that with the passage of time even that monthly payment will be diverted. For now it’s a hell of a lot better deal than the chamber could’ve made at a bank.
To sweeten the deal the city accepted a free membership to the Chamber of Commerce
City of Modesto does not hold the Modesto Chamber of Commerce accountable
In fact, the City has dissolved the contract with the Modesto Convention and Visitors Bureau, as of June 30, 2015, and we are told the money is now going into parks and recreation or economic development.
In 2000, upon assuming the office of Mayor of Modesto I was made aware of the co-mingling, or stealing, from the Transient Occupant Tax by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.
The decision was made to have each Modesto city Council member appointed a member to a new Convention and Visitors Bureau with separate budgets and office space.
I was told by then city manager Jack Crist that the separation might be difficult. I responded by saying the local leaders might go along to avoid the bad publicity.
Chamber CEO Cecil Russell has told the previous city Council that he has all the financial data to prove the chamber’s innocence in this matter.
What if… This city Council asked Mr. Russell to turn that data over to the Kemper CPA group.