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Park Supervisors Knew About Hidden Funds

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Sacramento, CA — A former state parks official says he repeatedly told his superiors about more than $53 million hidden in two accounts which could have been used to help avoid the threat of closing 70 state parks.

Manuel Lopez, former Deputy Director of Administrative Services, says he told Parks Director Ruth Coleman about a $20 million surplus at least five times over five years.

The surplus money comes from two operating budgets; $20.3million is part of the Parks and Recreation Fund and $33.5 million is part of the Off Highway Vehicle fund. State officials say that money should have been reported to the Finance Department.

Both the states Attorney General’s office and the Department of Finance are now investigating.

 Coleman resigned as director last week, but says she doesn’t recall being briefed.

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