Audit reveals no city funds used on Filner, companion during Paris trip
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – An audit of former Mayor Bob Filner's trip to Paris in June found no city funds were used on his behalf or that of his traveling companion, but that $24,641.86 was spent to send two San Diego police officers with him.
The trip was one of several contentious issues facing Filner during the summer. He stepped down at the end of August less than nine months into his term.
City officials have since been reviewing Filner's use of municipal credit cards. The credit limit on a card was raised in order to pay for the officers' trips.
“The expenses of the former mayor and his companion on the Paris trip were not paid with city funds,” the audit report said. “No travel reimbursements for per diem or other reimbursable expenses were found in city records for Filner or his companion.”
The review by the City Auditor's office found that a group that hosted an event Filner attended in Paris, the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, paid the expenses of the ex-mayor and his companion for the trip between June 21-26.
It was later discovered that the organization was not properly registered in the U.S. as a nonprofit, compelling Filner to promise to pay the money back. Since the deal was between two private entities, it's unknown whether he followed through.
The expenses incurred by the police officers — who are part of the city's Executive Protection Detail — included air fare, lodging, meals, Internet costs and overtime pay.
It had been reported previously that the officers missed their original flight to Paris, forcing them to take another plane to catch up with the then-mayor.
However, the audit said Filner and the officers were delayed because their initial flight to San Francisco had mechanical problems. The connection to Paris left without the entire traveling party.
Filner, his companion and the two police officers caught separate flights — the cops arriving about four hours after the mayor, the audit said. The report found that the change in flights actually saved the city more than $5,000.
The auditors did suggest that the manual for executive protection officers be changed to establish procedures to follow when transactions exceed limits in the municipal code. The San Diego Police Department has agreed to the recommendation.
The report did not identify the companion or police officers. Prior news reports, however, say the companion was his fiance at the time, Bronwyn Ingram.