AP NEWS

More questionable spending by CMEEC uncovered in audit

February 28, 2019

Norwich — The utility cooperative at the center of controversial trips to the Kentucky Derby that led to federal indictments of five officials also spent more than 350 for “attire for the governor’s ball,” a five-year forensic audit revealed.

In addition, the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative paid more than 70,000 to an initiative related to the effort to create a memorial in Groton with the USS Groton submarine sail.

The expenses were revealed through questions posed by Connecticut Municipal Ratepayer Advocate Bill Kowalski, who sought more detailed information on questionable CMEEC expenses discovered by forensic auditor CohnReznick. The audit was required in a 2017 state law that called for closer examination of CMEEC’s finances in light of the Kentucky Derby controversy.

CMEEC spent more than 4,600 for Board of Directors golf outings in 2015 and 2016.

Over 8,700 for artwork.

Over 99,000 in donations to the chamber of commerce over the five-year audit period and over 100,000 for charitable donations, he said.

“A public electric cooperative made up of public entities needs to limit its expenditures to those which directly serve the public, through the provision of low-cost electric power,” Kowalski said. “There is no benefit to ratepayers from expensive artwork, golf outings, excessive donations to pet projects and live bands at office parties. Based on evidence provided as presented by the forensic audit, that self-regulation alone, has not been in the downstream ratepayers’ best interests to date, and that some form of additional oversight is warranted.”

c.bessette@theday.com