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South Coast Foundation Says Audit Shows Issues; Invites State Attorney General To Investigate

A South Coast foundation says it’s asked the State Attorney General’s Office to investigate what it calls “financial anomalies” discovered with its past handling of funds.

The Ventura County Community Foundation hired an outside accounting firm to do a seven month long review. Foundation officials say the issued uncovered include the improper investment of certain types of fund in money market accounts, overallocation of income from interest, and excessive fees for administration of funds.

Officials say they will work to replenish any undervalued funds, and will develop a stronger oversight plan.

Executive Director Vanessa Bechtel discovered huge financial issues with the organization when she was hired in February of 2015 which forced the layoff of 17 of 22 staff members, and pay cuts for the remaining five. The organization has cut its budget by 60%, and put its building on the market for $9.8 million dollars. The moves have stabilized the organization’s budget for at least the next year.