State officials are set to launch an audit into how 169 towns and cities spent roughly $60 million in federal relief funding.
Some state lawmakers are wondering what they will find and how the state will fund the audit.
“I’m hoping what we find is what happened to lead to the concern about this is an anomaly and I think that most towns were spending these dollars in the right way,” Sen. Cathay Osten, co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, says.
Osten says she’s optimistic that West Haven is the only community where Covid-19 money was inappropriately allocated.
“This was intended as reimbursing for those expenses directly relative to consequences of Covid, relating to PPE, relating to overtime expenses,” Osten says.
In West Haven, more than half the funds ended up going to a shell company run by former state Rep. Michael DiMassa who was arrested by the FBI.
“If it can happen there, then it can happen anywhere,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly says.
Kelly says the state shouldn’t be concerned the audit will cost money it didn’t plan to spend.
“If the allegations in West Haven are true the cost of not doing this - How many other communities are like West Haven? Half the Covid funds may have been misappropriated,” he says.
How much will the audit of 169 cities and towns cost?
“We are pleased with the executive branch's step forward on doing the audit right away, then we’re going to have to figure out how to pay for that audit,” Osten says.
She added: “Because this is unprecedented and it’s 169 towns, I have not seen the dollar amount yet.”
Kelly says it doesn’t matter how much it costs.
“We need accountability and if we’re going to restore the public’s trust we need swift and strong action,” Kelly says.