More than $33 million has gone missing from the city of Philadelphia’s largest cash account.
“This is unacceptable, absolutely unacceptable,” City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart told KYW-TV.
City officials aren’t sure where $33.3 million went, but Rhynhart’s predecessor noticed problems with the account as far back as 2014.
An outside firm has been hired to the tune of $500,000 to try to figure out where the money has gone.
Rhynhart, who took office in January, said there are several possible explanations.
There’s a chance that the employees who were keeping up with the account may have left and no one picked up where they left off was among the possibilities.
“It could be that the money was mistakenly deposited in the wrong city account,” Rhynhart said. “It could be worse. It could be that a portion of it is actually missing or there could be theft.”
Rhynhart has demanded that the city’s Finance and Treasury Department take responsibility to find the cash.
“My job is to find and identify the financial problems of the city,” she said. “This is something that I am not going to let up on.”
What does the mayor say?
Mayor Jim Kenney denied that the money is missing.
“We need to reconcile our books. Reconcile is not missing,” Kenney told the news outlet. “The assertion that the money is missing is not true and we’ll get to the bottom of it and correct it.”
He’s certain it will turn up.
“They’re reconciling it,” Kenney said.
What do other city leaders say?
Councilman Allan Domb is troubled by the lack of urgency to find the lost funds and resolve the city’s bookkeeping problems.
“The average person in business would be picking up the phone, calling their accountant saying, ‘I need you to come down here right now and fix this problem immediately,'” Domb said. “The sense of urgency has to be there.”
Additionally, Domb said the city needs to set up new protocols and daily account monitoring.
The news outlet reached out to the city’s finance director, Rob Dubow, who would not comment and directed questions to the mayor’s office.
Dubow was appointed as director of finance and CFO in 2008.