The District may owe the federal government tens of millions in reimbursements for undocumented and poorly documented Medicaid spending, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty told councilmembers this morning at a breakfast meeting.

The problem was discovered in the course of audits of the D.C. Public Schools and the Child and Family Services Agency performed by the city’s health care finance department. There was no word given on a particular amount for the liability, or even a range, but as Councilmember Jim Graham pointed out at the meeting, “it’s obviously serious enough for a breakfast.”

Any money owed would compound a budget problem faced by the District in the face of a faltering economy. The D.C. Council just finished making $180 million in cuts after the release of declining revenue projections.

City Administrator Dan Tangherlini said, “We start to put ourselves in peril when we start throwing numbers around”; a firmer number would come, he said, as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is completed early next year. “This is one of those looming elements we have to deal with,” he said.