Florence City manager corrects original statements on finances, CBI investigation
FLORENCE, Colo. (KRDO) -- Florence Interim City Manager Tom Piltingsrud is clarifying statements he made about a financial review by the City of Fountain and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into corruption allegations in the city of Florence.
13 Investigates previously exposed Florence's City Hall sex harassment scandal, uncovered missing taxpayer money, and various other allegations of mismanagement within the Florence Police Department.
In March, the entire Florence City Council resigned after they say they failed to get city leaders to follow their directions. The former council requested Florence Police Chief Shane Prickett to call in the CBI to investigate missing taxpayer money.
However, Prickett asked the CBI to investigate a 2019 severance package paid to former Florence Police Chief Mike DeLaurentis. Emails obtained by 13 Investigates reveal that despite a conversation with CBI about the loans, Prickett never made an official request for CBI to look into missing taxpayer money connected to unauthorized interest-free loans to city executives and staff on the taxpayer dime.
Monday night during a council meeting, Piltingsrud told a Florence taxpayer that the CBI had investigated and he was awaiting a report from the state law enforcement agency.
After questions from 13 Investigates, however, Piltingsrud admitted that wasn't true and that the CBI would be back in Florence for more investigation this week.
The CBI tells 13 Investigates its probe remains active and ongoing.
Piltingsrud also said he used "a poor choice of words" when describing the role of the City of Fountain Finance Director's review of Florence city financials to the citizen during Monday night's meeting.
Florence Mayor Paul Villagrana said the City of Fountain "came down and looked at [Florence City] records and didn't find anything." Villagrana also indicated Fountain's finance director gave Florence a "clean bill of health" regarding its taxpayer-funded finances.
In an April letter, Fountain Finance Director John Lewis said he agreed it "would be a good idea" for a third party to conduct a forensic audit.
"Yeah, we published their review of our financials. Did you see that?" Piltingsrud asked the Florence citizen posing questions at Monday's council meeting.
"Correct. But what does Fountain have to do with a forensic audit?" the citizen asked.
"Well, they're experts in auditing. I mean, that's what they do. It was their head financial guy who came down and looked at our financials," Piltingsrud said.
13 Investigates reached out the Fountain City Manager Scott Trainor for clarification on the confusion.
In part, Fountain's City Manager said:
- We are not forensic auditors nor did we conduct a forensic audit, or really any kind of official audit. Rather, John Lewis met with Florence’s Finance Director to review some specific information and questions that she had. Following this e-mail, I’m going to forward to you the e-mail and written letter that was provided by John to them. The only reference to an audit in that letter is John’s agreement with Florence that a forensic audit by an independent third party would be a good idea and his willingness to help track down the names of some auditors to provide to them.
- We were not asked to provide an audit, we are not in the business of auditing, nor did we ever conduct an audit – forensic or otherwise.
If you have a tip or lead for our ongoing investigation into the City of Florence, email our team at 13Investigates@krdo.com.