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Iowa Watchdog

Another audit for Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District

4/8/2014

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa State Auditor’s office has launched a second audit of Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, less than three months after its report detailing more than $775,000 in inappropriate spending by the department.

“Since the previous audit, we have been contacted by people with knowledge of the Sixth District who provided us with information we previously didn’t have,” Deputy State Auditor Tami Kusian told Iowa Watchdog.

Kusian said that information raised “additional concerns,” which is why the new audit is being done. She declined to state what those concerns are.

ANOTHER AUDIT: New information has lead the State Auditor’s office to launch another audit of the Sixth Judicial District. In January, an audit report detailed more than $775,000 in inappropriate spending in the district.

ANOTHER AUDIT: New information has lead the State Auditor’s office to launch another audit of the Sixth Judicial District. In January, an audit report detailed more than $775,000 in inappropriate spending in the district.

The Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, which is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, administers pretrial services, probation, parole and work-release programs for the counties of Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Tama.

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The January report, which examined the district’s finances between 2008 and 2012, found the bulk of the inappropriate spending came as a result of the district’s involvement with Community Corrections Improvement Association.

CCIA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to support the work of the Sixth Judicial District. During the period the previous audit examined, Gary Hinzman served as both director of the district and executive director of CCIA.

Instead of supporting the district, auditors discovered that CCIA was being supported by the district.

The district provided CCIA with everything from free rent and office supplies to health and dental insurance benefits for its employees.

Auditors were unable to determine exactly what the district got in return.

Much of the work CCIA was supposed to perform was actually performed by district employees, including District Director Bruce Vander Sanden.

The January report noted there was some confusion over whether Vander Sanden, then assistant district director, was on the clock while doing work for CCIA or if he did it in his own time.

The auditors asked Vander Sanden, who became district director when Hinzman retired in May 2013, to clear up the matter, but Vander Sanden “did not provide a direct response.”

Iowa Watchdog contacted Vander Sanden in January after the report was published, but he declined to comment on any specifics from the report.

Repeated phone calls to Vander Sanden seeking comment on the new audit were not returned.

Kusian was unable to say when the new audit would be completed, but did say it “is very much on the fast track.”

The Iowa Attorney General’s office is still reviewing the previous audit to determine if any of the reported activities warrant further investigation.

Contact Paul Brennan at pbrennan@watchdog.org. This story originally appeared on Watchdog.org.

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