County supervisor told to repay $13K


Supervisor George Shirakawa must repay the county $12,772 in expenses he wrongly charged on his government credit card, the Santa Clara County Controller-Treasurer Department reported Monday.

The county's Finance Agency, after auditing 240 charges Shirakawa made his procurement card, or P-Card, from 2009 to 2012, found that he had failed to comply with county rules on using the card for personal expenses, travel, charitable donations and business meals.

In its review of $36,837 in charges the supervisor placed on the card, the agency said Shirakawa violated the county's travel policy by upgrading the class of rental vehicles without justification, overcharging for hotel rooms and not turning in expense receipts.

Shirakawa, who represents part of San Jose, also charged taxpayers $10,354 for 174 business meal transactions without providing itemized receipts as the county requires, the audit found.

"In numerous instances, the county-issued P-Card was used to pay for the cardholder's personal expenses, pay the registration fee of a political event, donate county funds to non-profit entities without (approval), or to purchase items that are either strictly prohibited or restricted under various county policies," the agency reported in its audit released Monday.

Shirakawa, however, disputes the allegations, posting on his website that he had reimbursed the city for charges made by mistake or made upgrades using personal funds. Some receipts and copies of checks accompanied the response as evidence.

The county auditors said that Shirakawa must reimburse the county $12,772 in donations to charity and other unapproved charges on the procurement card.

The Controller-Treasurer Department said it would also perform a detailed audit of expenses charged by people working for Shirakawa in his District 2 office over the same period it reviewed the supervisor's expensing.

The auditors recommended that the county consider revising policies and procedures to remove confusion regarding expense reporting and making sure the policies are implemented the same way for all county employees.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm

The penalty for defrauding the Food Stamps program is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Shirakawa should face similar penalties.

Like this comment
Posted by kman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

The sad part of this is that this is just the tip of the iceburg. All government officials should be scrutinized more. Especially the workers in education.

It just goes to show, that in the coming years, there will be the ultra rich and the poor. The middle class will only be government workers.

One of my last paychecks, the government took out 39% income Tax on the following.
Social Security (FICA)
Federal Medicare
California Income Tax
California Vol. Disability

That is directly out of my paycheck.

Additional taxes:

Sales tax on the rest if i buy anything, except for food. That is a nice 8%

If you own a home, there is a yearly house tax, mine is 330/ month

If you live in a community setting like me, my dues are 375/month

If you own a car, you have insurance, which is like 100/month

Oh, i forgot the other bills, pg&e, Att, Comcast, etc.......

Not much left by the time everyone has taken there cut. 3/4 of the year i'm working for the government.

You don't have to be a republican to understand that taxes are way out of control.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Can you even imagine? A government official placing his own interests ahead of the people he represents? I'm glad nothing like that happens here.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm

This type of crime would best be deterred by the death penalty, and it is VERY easy to prove.

Like this comment
Posted by gcoladon
a resident of Slater
on Dec 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

gcoladon is a registered user.

And this guy was just re-elected unopposed? Pathetic.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Keeping Princess Leia on a chain and freezing Han Solo in carbonite were his worst offenses. How come nobody's mentioning that?

Like this comment
Posted by Stan
a resident of Jackson Park
on Dec 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm

If George had used your credit card, made these same unauthorized purchases, and had been caught, I imagine he'd either be in jail, or have to make bail to walk the streets. But no, the county is moving like chilled molasses. Can't be too careful when confronted with hard facts of out right theft, um, WTF county of Santa Clara?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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