The latest audit of the Connecticut Port Authority was released Thursday by the state’s audit office. The report cited several areas of concern about CPA activities from failure to implement formal written policies and a lack of ethical standards to how Authority credit cards were abused by former employees.
The report found that the troubled state agency could not account for 36 lodging and meal transactions, totaling nearly $6,000 in the 2018-2019 budget years.
Eight of the transactions amounted to nearly $2,000 in spending on what appeared to be expensive alcohol.
Connecticut businessman Kevin Blacker has opposed the lack of transparency at the CPA in the past. He said he wasn’t surprised by the findings.
“There’s definitely more that needs to be found out, who contracts were awarded to. I think that audits are administrative and somewhat narrow in their scope and they’re not, as somebody very smart explained to me, they’re not a substitute for fact finding and there’s definitely a need for more fact finding.”
Senator Carlo Leone, a Democrat who co-chairs the Transportation Committee, says under the Lamont administration the Port Authority is going through a complete overhaul and is committed to fixing the problems.
“That’s going to take more time than just an audit release, and that’s where we are at the present date. And that will allow us, as the Transportation Committee, to determine the next steps going forward.”
He says that might include a public hearing.
“As we get a little bit more information from other entities that the committee has asked for, information, we will be looking to see whether we can maybe speed up that process and potentially have a meeting before the start of session.”
Senate Republican leader Len Fasano wants an immediate public hearing. He says the slow drip of information about the management of the authority further damages public trust in the agency.
The Authority, which is a quasi-public agency, has been the focus of state and media attention since this summer when two former Board chairs resigned, and the executive director was placed on administrative leave.
David Kooris, acting chair of the Port Authority, tells WSHU he has started to get “his hands around this and address the issues.” He also says he is willing to cooperate with any legislative committee.