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Bell auditing firm hires outside accountant to review its work

December 10, 2010 | 10:45 am

An outside auditing firm for the troubled city of Bell has hired an independent accountant to review its work as its practices come under scrutiny by the state Controller's office.

California Controller John Chiang is expected to release his review next month of the work of auditing firm Mayer Hoffman McCann, which gave the municipality a clean bill of health. The case has highlighted questions over firms that audit troubled government entities.

Chiang already has issued several reports on Bell’s finances that found numerous shortcomings and red flags pointing to excessive salaries, illegal taxes and fees.

Mayer Hoffman conducts outside audits for several California cities, including South Pasadena and West Covina, and numerous federal agencies. The firm has hired Carr Riggs & Ingram to review its California government and auditing practice and finish its work within 60 days.

Mayer Hoffman, which is cooperating with Chiang's review, says it will make the results public.

"We believe the independent peer review by CRI will provide a fair and neutral evaluation of our government accounting and auditing practice for MHM and its clients, as well as other interested parties in the public sector,” Bill Hancock, president of Mayer Hoffman McCann, said in a statement.

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-- Richard Winton

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