A new probe of financial scandals at the California Department of Parks and Recreation found that officials maintained a hidden cash surplus for as long as 20 years far longer than previously known.
The Sacramento Bee's investigation of California state parks funding has been recognized with a McClatchy Co. President's Award for journalism excellence.
The Sacramento County district attorney said Thursday she will not pursue criminal charges against state parks officials in the recent "hidden funds" scandal, saying a recent investigation by the state attorney general left her little option because of its "failure to identify any crime."
Six months after the public learned that California state parks officials had concealed $20 million even as they were crying poor and closing parks, one crucial issue remains foggy as ever:
Former California state parks leaders engaged in a "conscious and deliberate" effort to hide millions of dollars for as long as 13 years, according to an investigation by the state attorney general's office released Friday.
Another audit of the California Department of Parks and Recreation found yet more mystery money: $3.9 million in a fund for donations that had no assigned purpose.
An expert in drafting battle plans has been appointed to lead the California Department of Parks and Recreation out of the trenches of its recent financial scandals.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation is investigating whether crucial records were destroyed by officials at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, an off-roading park in the desert east of San Diego.
Gov. Jerry Brown gave California's 278 state parks a two-year reprieve from closures Tuesday after embarrassing revelations that parks officials were hiding funds for years.
State workers call it "use it or lose it," a practice in which departments try to spend every last penny rather than save for the good of the overall California budget.
In 2004, California voters authorized $15 billion in bonds to erase a massive budget deficit at the urging of lawmakers and newly elected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Former state parks director Ruth Coleman knew the department was running a budget surplus of $20 million even as it was carrying out a plan to close 70 parks, according to testimony released by the state Natural Resources Agency late Friday.
California parks officials apparently used obscure payroll codes intended for wildfires and disasters such as Hurricane Katrina to turn vacation time into overtime pay for managers, the state controller's office testified Wednesday.
Lawyers at the highest levels of state government knew the California Department of Parks and Recreation was sitting on millions in surplus money as early as April, months before it was officially acknowledged, according to testimony submitted Tuesday in a civil lawsuit.
Three executives at the California Department of Parks and Recreation have been disciplined because they "manipulated the system" or gave "recklessly flawed advice" in carrying out an unauthorized vacation buyout program for department employees last year.
In their first examination of state accounting problems, California lawmakers condemned parks officials Thursday for hiding nearly $54 million from budget writers.
A joint legislative panel asked Wednesday for an independent audit of California's state parks department after revelations that officials there hid nearly $54 million and approved unauthorized vacation buyouts.
Republican leaders in the Legislature on Wednesday called for former State Parks director Ruth Coleman and others to testify about financial problems at the agency.
Gov. Jerry Brown has the right idea for using "hidden" money from a special fund found in the state parks budget. Keep it in the parks system.
California drivers pay fees for smog checks, vehicle registrations and new tires, all supposedly for programs that benefit roadway use.
Two more high-level employees have departed the state Department of Parks and Recreation in the wake of a financial scandal.
The man at the center of a financial scandal at the state Department of Parks and Recreation told The Bee this week that he repeatedly advised his superiors that the department was sitting on millions of dollars in surplus money.
Californians are rightly outraged by revelations that the state Department of Parks and Recreation has quietly hoarded more than $53 million in two special funds that could have saved parks from the chopping block. They also should be outraged if they don't get a full accounting of how it happened.
It was an embarrassing and potentially significant setback for Gov. Jerry Brown and his ballot initiative to raise taxes when nearly $54 million in apparently hidden state money appeared.
Here are key players in the emerging scandal at the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
The only state park in Plumas County will be spared the budget ax, thanks to a donation from its park association, the California Department of Parks and Recreation announced.
Calaveras Big Trees State Park reopened today after being closed since a wind storm on Dec. 1 caused heavy damage from fallen trees.
Alden Olmsted has picked up right where his father left off, looking for solutions that could keep as many state parks as possible from closing their gates.