Taxpayer Money Wasted on Bar Tabs, Trips to Las Vegas and Expensive Electronics in South El Monte, Audit Shows

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The South El Monte City Hall is seen in an undated Google Maps Street View image.

South El Monte officials racked up thousands of dollars on city credit cards for consultants’ bar tabs, airfare and pricey electronics. They splurged on hotel stays and a trip to Las Vegas without proof that it was related to city business.

The former city manager charged more than $3,000 for a cheerleading camp, and the city paid $390,000 to a consultant after their contract had already expired.

These are just a few of the findings of a California state controller review of how South El Monte spent money. In a scathing assessment, Controller Betty Yee declared: “South El Monte officials demonstrated a culture of incompetence and blatant disregard for taxpayer dollars.”

In a statement released Thursday, Yee also said that she was “especially concerned with exorbitant lobbying and consulting expenses that resulted in undefined benefits to the city and its residents.”

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