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San Bernardino bankruptcy: No details on charges of falsified documents

July 11, 2012 |  7:20 pm

San Bernardino City Atty. James Penman declined Wednesday to elaborate on the allegations he made that documents might have been falsified to hide the city's financial picture, but said he had turned the information over to outside agencies. The city attorney raised the accusation publicly at a council meeting Tuesday night when the City Council voted to file for bankruptcy.

Penman would not say which agencies were involved, but said that he had first arranged a meeting with one of them on Feb. 29 and that there had been several more meetings since. He also said the council and mayor had been briefed on the allegations, but would not say when. Mayor Patrick Morris said earlier that he was "stunned" by the city attorney's statement that documents might have been falsified. Morris said that he was aware there had been discrepancies between the city's mid-year budget review and audited financial statements, but he characterized it as "sloppy budget analysis." Penman said he was unsure if there had been deliberate wrongdoing and, if so, how many people were involved. "I do not know whether there was criminal intent or not," he said.

PHOTOS: California cities in bankruptcy

Officials with the FBI and Securities Exchange Commission said Wednesday that they could neither confirm nor deny that they had been contacted or initiated an investigation.

In September, the FBI raided the San Bernardino International Airport Authority and Inland Valley Development Agency in San Bernardino, agencies accused of rampant mismanagement and questionable financial oversight in a 2011 county grand jury investigation. Both agencies oversee the development of the airport – the old Norton Air Force Base, which was closed in 1994 and converted to civilian use.

The investigation is being handled by a special joint task force set up in 2010 because of corruption allegations in San Bernardino County.


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--Abby Sewell in San Bernardino and Phil Willon in Riverside