Topinka requests investigation of Washington Park finances

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Village consistently failed to submit required reports

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka announced that she has asked the state Attorney General to investigate the Village of Washington Park after it failed to submit required financial reports for seven years.

Local governments are required to file certain Annual Financial Reports, Audits and TIF reports with the Office of the Comptroller, which serves as a repository for the records. Washington Park is mandated to file AFRs, Audits and a financial report for its TIF District. The municipality, however, has not filed its AFR and Audit reports in seven years, and has never filed a report for its TIF, which was created in 2004.

After repeated attempts to bring the Village into compliance, the Comptroller retained an independent auditing firm to examine the municipality’s financial records. Washington Park, however, either did not or was not able to provide adequate documentation to complete the audit.

“We cannot afford to take chances with public money,” Topinka said. “I am concerned by Washington Park’s inability to produce financial information and make records available for public inspection. I have contacted the Attorney General to take a closer look and will assist the investigation in whatever way is most helpful.”

The Comptroller’s Office serves as a repository for 5,200 Annual Financial Reports, 1,850 Audits and 1,220 TIF reports each year. Since taking office in January, 2011, Topinka has made local financial filings a priority, bringing the statewide compliance rate from 89 percent in 2010 to 97 percent today. The Annual Financial Report compliance rate for Illinois Counties has grown from 60 percent in 2010 to 100 percent today, and municipality compliance has increased from 89 percent in 2010 to 94 percent today.

To further encourage compliance, Topinka last year successfully advocated for legislation to fine governments for delinquent AFR and Audit reports.

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