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State Audit Identifies Overspending, Bad Math At Metropolitan Sewer District

An audit of the Metropolitan Sewer District has turned up nearly $780,000 worth of illegal or unauthorized spending. State Auditor Dave Yost's office released the findings of a two year investigation Friday morning.

The report found a consultant with Focus Solutions claimed to work more than 24 hours a day, an urban planner with another consulting firm, Ribway Engineering Group, doing work that benefited the Cincinnati Planning Department, and math errors that resulted in overbilling by the city.

According to the audit, the law firm of Bricker & Eckler billed the district on behalf of Urban Strategies & Solutions, without authorization for work done.

In total, the auditor's office issued 15 findings for recovery against seven vendors, the city and the county. The auditor reports about $182,000 has been repaid.

A statement from Hamilton County administration says commissioners are reviewing the audit and have no comment at this time. The acting city manager says MSD is working to "fine tune management practices identified in the state audit."

MSD has been operated by the city, while the county approves the budget. The agreement that set that system up expired this year and has not been replaced yet.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.