Investigative audit; Insurance purchase violated city charter, mayor’s trip a possible violation

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – After months of waiting, we now know the results of an investigative audit of the operations of the city of Shreveport.

It comes after former Shreveport Comptroller Ben Herbert alleged irregularities in the city’s accounting practices, as well as Mayor Adrian Perkins’ travel expenses. Below are the results of the audit conducted by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

The audit revealed nothing criminal. What he revealed were practices that did not comply with city charter or city policy when purchasing the city’s insurance policy. It also revealed 16 trips by the mayor that included expenses that may have violated the city of Shreveport’s travel policy, according to the auditor.

The results of the detailed report came after countless interviews with employees and officials of the city of Shreveport, and after reviewing certain documents and receipts from travel transactions.

According to the audit, when the city changed the official agent of the city’s workers’ compensation insurance policy at the end of 2018, the city violated the city charter because the amount of coverage n was not approved by the city council. The audit also indicates that no RFPs were submitted, as required by the City’s purchasing policy.

The audit details all of Mayor Adrian Perkins’ trips from January 2019 to December 2020.

Perkins completed 23 trips with $35,845 in expenses submitted to the city.

16 of the trips included expenses that the auditor believes may have violated the city’s travel policy.

Expenses totaling $26,547 were filed beyond the 30-day time limit to file an expense report.

Expense reports included reimbursement for 10 missing receipts, six business meals for which records did not indicate who attended the meal or the business purpose of the event, and seven accommodation expenses when the total cost exceeded the daily hotel allowance.

Also draw auditor’s attention $2,899 in Mayor Perkins travel records that took place on weekends.

The auditor claims that these travel expenses did not include an itinerary indicating that these events were work-related. Expenses included accommodation, meals, transportation, fuel and parking.

Extended weekend trip like a trip to Miami last June to learn more about the use of Crypto currency from the Mayor of Miami.

An extended weekend in Los Angeles to recruit companies to develop in Louisiana. The trip took place the same weekend as the LSU Tigers played UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

And a trip back to the West Coast just two weeks later, this time to San Francisco, for a conference on learning digital resilience.

The mayor did not come from January 26, 2020 to April 22, 2021 due to the Covid -19 pandemic.

The audit was sparked by Herbert’s allegations of audit irregularities he says he made to the city’s current chief financial officer, Kasey Brown.

Herbert is a lifelong accountant and former fraud investigator for the city’s Internal Audit Office. Herbert said he found major issues within the city of Shreveport’s accounting department when he took over as comptroller in January 2020.

Herbert says that when he brought many of the same issues found in the legislative audit to Brown’s attention, Herbert was fired as a result.

Herbert’s lawyer, Allison Jones, said complaints of discrimination based on age and race have been filed with the Commission for Equality in Employment, as well as whistleblower complaints with the Louisiana Human Rights Commission.

Mayor Perkins viewed the audit two weeks ago and posted a response which is included in the audit.

He acknowledges reimbursing the city $681 for some of the policy violations in 2019 and 2020, but did not reimburse the city for any policy violations in 2021.

He says the city has also implemented training to ensure travel reimbursement forms are completed correctly.

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