California State Parks Discovered To Have $54 Million Secret Surplus
Despite reports that budget cuts were threatening California state park closures, the state park department was discovered on Friday to have a secret surplus of over $54 million.
According to The L.A. Times, the parks department had been underreporting tens of millions of dollars for the last 12 years. And news of the surplus enraged many California residents.
- "It disgusts me," said Myra Hilliard, who donated and helped raise money for the Pio Pico State Historic Park in Whittier. "Is anybody honest about anything anymore? Here we are working so hard to keep the park open and they have all this money they aren’t telling us about."
- Hilliard said elementary school students even held a bake sale to raise $120 after being told the park might close. The park costs $80,000 to keep open for one year.
The director of California's state parks, Ruth Coleman, resigned on Friday following news of the surplus.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
- Gov. Jerry Brown asked for the investigation and accepted the resignation of Parks Director Ruth Coleman Friday after a preliminary investigation into the department's finances revealed that the department had failed to tell state finance officials that it had the extra funds. Coleman said in a letter to the governor that while she was unaware of the "excessive balance," she accepts "full responsibility" as the head of the department.
- Acting chief deputy Michael Harris was fired.
Find more Neon Tommy coverage of California State Parks here.
Reach Executive Producer Paige Brettingen here.