OAKRIDGE, Ore. — Vancouver-based forensic accountant Tiffany Couch finished some Oregon number crunching. The City of Oakridge hired the high profile fraud investigator to get to the bottom of the city’s disappearing money.
In July 2011, a discrepancy in the city budget – that could not be reconciled – had led City Manager Gordon Zimmerman to send out layoff notices. Among those getting the pink-slips included the deputy police chief, one police officer, one dispatcher, one animal control officer, a community center manager, and a utility worker. The layoffs were a direct result of a discrepancy in the city’s budget.Couch resolved the discrepancy.
According to a report in the Salem Register Guard Couch uncovered that Gordon Zimmerman had prepared a false 2008-2009 budget. “When the funds started to run out, he had no choice but to transfer money from reserves to pay the bills,” reports the newspaper.
In their first attempt to get to the truth, the city hired the Eugene accounting firm of Jones & Roth and paid the firm approximately $71,000.
During the ensuing mayhem the city council was accused of not properly watching over the money and four councilmembers were caught in a recall effort.
Now that the loss has been resolved, Zimmerman has resigned and the city is making a move to get all of the money it paid to Jones & Roth refunded.