“We simply are not going to be able to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt given the culture of purchase card abuse going on in that office by supervisors,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the District told Metro’s inspector general, according to the report. “They all have something to hide so credibility is a real issue.”
Metro released the 13-page document late Monday in response to a Washington Post request for a report into misuse of credit cards in the planning department. The division has 49 employees and includes real estate and parking divisions, according to chief spokesman Dan Stessel.
Seven planning department employees had Metro purchase cards, and two cards were investigated for irregularities, Stessel said. Despite that, he said he did not know who had the cards. In a statement, he said the “purchase card holders in this matter are no longer” Metro employees. He declined to identify any of the individuals involved.
The critical report, dated Dec. 1, 2011, is heavily redacted, with some entire sections, including two of the seven findings and several graphs on “purchase card approval procedures,” blacked out. Metro said the information was marked through because it “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
The inspector general’s report calls into question purchases worth almost $10,000. There was “an attempt to cover up these unauthorized purchases with descriptions of legitimate” ones, the report said. The report cites 55 instances in which an unnamed person “entered an inaccurate expense description . . . or no description at all.”
Officials could not account for some items, including three camcorders worth $729.94, a $499.99 BlackBerry, Beats by Dr. Dre earbuds for $179.99 and more than $2,000 worth of gift cards.
In one situation, a $1,863.36 lunch was held at an unnamed restaurant. At the lunch, according to the report, employees who received gifts weren’t being recognized for any “special or specific accomplishments.” The items were distributed “more in the nature of door prizes than employee recognition awards.”
Another purchase card record shows that $2,795 was spent on items to give out at the luncheon, including 49 gift cards, gift baskets, six boxes of chocolates, four cutting board sets, two digital cameras, a Kindle e-reader and a digital photo album, according to the report.
In interviews with inspector general officials, two people each claimed they bought Kindles for $946.99. One planning department employee “acknowledged receiving a Kindle” at the lunch but three Kindles were “unaccounted for,” the report said.