City Paper is not for tourists
Now that the District’s accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand (C&L) is under fire for failing to alert Congress to the city’s impending bankruptcy, it has conveniently found documentation indicating it had alerted former Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. On Feb. 25, the Washington Post, cited sources saying that Kelly asked C&L to keep the extent of the fiscal crisis on the QT till after the election. This isn’t the first timeC&L stayed silent about District government snafus, says former D.C. Auditor Otis Troupe, who prophesies “consumer lawsuits against these big CPA firms that simply rubber-stamp everything politicians want them to.” After a 1985 Troupe audit of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), the Committee on Education found that C&L, which had been doing UDC’s books, “did not always function in the capacity of external auditors” and had “accepted oral and otherwise unsupported and undocumented assurance” from school officials about fishy expenditures and contracts. When its UDC audits were questioned, the firm suddenly surfaced reports detailing university mismanagement. (The same C&L partner who now has the District contract—Peter Nunn—was in charge of the UDC account.) When the smoke cleared, UDC’s president was forced to resign, KPMG Peat Marwick replaced C&L as UDC’s accountant, and C&L went on to land a bigger D.C. government contract.