After Vancouver businessman, David Madore, hired his own forensic accountant (see previous post here and interview here) to make sure somebody was keeping tabs on the Columbia River Crossing tab, it appears the CRC may begin internally auditing its own books. Fox meet hen house.
One of the few elected officials asking questions about the project is Oregon State Representative and Certified Public Accountant, Katie Eyre Brewer. She told me on the program today
that this should be an external audit, but because it’s a federal program, she’s unaware of any controlling authority to do it. (Find the Taftcast of this interview here).
After you read the story about the CRC burning through $60,000.00 of taxpayer dollars per day –or at least $130,000,000.00 on the project so far– it seems that somebody had better find the controlling authority–and fast.
In one of the nuggets found in the Zero’s article we find this odd habit of people giving themselves raises:
A longtime aide to Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., [Tom] Markgraf developed a specialty in transit. In 2005, he hung his own shingle as a political consultant. He’d been doing some consulting work on the side and had charged $100 an hour. When the CRC came calling, Markgraf upped his rate to $165 an hour.
ODOT paid Brandman $195,000 a year, a 25 percent raise from his Metro compensation. Brandman was suddenly making significantly more money than Doug Ficco, the WSDOT leader on the project, who by all accounts carried the load on the technical work.
Hopf and two co-workers got nearly $83,000 for the equivalent of eight weeks of work. He traveled from Stuttgart to Portland three times in three months last fall and winter, at more than $7,000 a pop, on the CRC’s dime.
The CRC has at various times covered travel and lodging expenses for as many as five out-of-town consultants. David Parisi, a Bay Area traffic consultant, got a particularly sweet deal. He rented an apartment on Northwest 13th Street in the heart of Portland’s swanky Pearl District and persuaded the CRC to cover $800 a month in rent. The CRC says the estimated $19,200 it paid over two years toward Parisi’s rent was cheaper than a hotel.
On top of covering most of his rent, the CRC paid Parisi’s firm more than $1.4 million.
And of course we told you what Madore’s accountant uncovered the $36,000.00 per month rent for the CRC. But what in the heck are taxpayers doing reimbursing employees for parking?
The CRC also covers parking for the approximately 70 employees: $42,000 a year for 53 monthly passes. It also reimburses street parking for others workers.
Didn’t they get in a building that has free parking? Is there no free parking in Vancouver?