Victorville Daily Press
December 25, 2010
VV Mayor calls for closure in grand jury, SEC, USCIS probes
Federal, county investigations cost Victorville $300,000
By Brooke Edwards
VICTORVILLE • The cost and strain of responding to lengthy investigations by two federal and one county agency has newly seated Mayor Ryan McEachron calling for an end to the inquiries — though he first requested the forensic audit by the San Bernardino County Grand Jury.
The cost of responding has topped $300,000 in staff time and attorney fees, city officials estimated.
“I think that the forensic auditor has requested as much documentation as he possibly can,” McEachron said, with New York-based firm Kessler International at work since May investigating the city’s books through a special $195,000 appropriation by the county Board of Supervisors. “If he has found some wrongdoing, then it needs to be put out there. If people have done something criminally wrong they need to be brought to justice. And if he hasn’t, then we need to know that, too. Either way I think the investigation needs to come to an end and a report needs to be issued.”
McEachron said his request for a forensic audit called for the investigator to look at very specific things he’d heard concerns about since taking office in 2008.
“I asked them to look at contracts that the city had in place and was there anything wrong with those,” McEachron said, “as well as to look at payroll, which was put under IT, and was there anything done wrong there, such people getting paychecks that shouldn’t have been getting paychecks.”
Now McEachron said it appears the auditor has expanded the inquiry to include “everything under the sun” — though he believes the saying “no news is good news” likely applies here.
“The fact that no indictments have been issued, nothing has come out that there has been any criminal wrongdoing, makes me cautiously optimistic,” the mayor said. “...Stealing of taxpayer money is a big deal, so you just don’t let someone that’s done that sit around.”
McEachron is also anxious for the Security and Exchange Commission to wrap up its months-long investigation into the city’s bond issuances.
Victorville is also waiting to hear back from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on an appeal filed last month against the federal agency’s decision to terminate its EB-5 Regional Center program.