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Pension audit leaves questions unanswered

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The forensic audit of the police and fire pension fund was released Wednesday, placing the blame for the mismanagement of the pension funds squarely on the shoulders of the Police and Fire Pension Board.

Though one day later there still wasn't a response from the board over the audit, there are others who are coming forward and want to put that information to work.

City councilman and former Mayor Tommy Hazouri is serving as the liaison between the City Council and the Pension Board. He's upset he did not receive a copy of the report prior to its release. He is still combing through the pages and said there is a lot of information to absorb, but he said there is one important thing to come out of this, the truth of how tax dollars were being spent

"It's about the taxpayer dollars. Searching for the truth, this is what this is all about on both sides. I want to hear from the pension board. I want to hear from our treasurer, city treasurer. I want counsel to participate. Nobody's guilty until proven guilty and I want to make sure wherever the guilt lies, it's not going to be on the back of our taxpayer," Hazouri said.

The report said investment decisions made were very questionable. It also questions the transparency of the pension fund board saying what information they have is very limited and requested records still have not been turned over to the auditor.

It went on to say that the FBI, the Governor's Office and the Security and Exchange Commission should be consulted to see if a federal probe is necessary.

When questioned as to whether or not the State Attorney's Office has been brought in over the audit, a spokesperson with the office said they could not confirm or deny their involvement.

One of the newest members of the pension board, Bill Scheu, is the city's go-to man to address problems. He chaired the pension task force and now sits on the board.

He said he is still pouring through the report but the idea of the governor and the FBI becoming involved are not fact-finding issues but simply recommendations. He said there was a lot of rhetoric in the report.

"To me, there was a lot of emotion in the report and not much specific factual findings there," Scheu said.


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