I-TEAM: $17 million missing from state - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-TEAM: $17 million missing from state

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An investigation by the WAFB 9NEWS I-TEAM has revealed more than $17 million worth of items that the state is unable to locate after conducting inventory over the past three years.

Among the nearly 10,000 missing items are computers, cows, costumes, and an Angus bull.

"How do you lose an Angus bull?," asked Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy.

The I-TEAM examined inventory records for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010. The inventory records cover all state agencies.

Some of the missing items and their purchase price include:

* ANGUS BULL (DPT OF CORRECTIONS):   $2,500
* SMOKEY BEAR COSTUME (DPT OF AGRICULTURE): $1,216.00
* 19 COWS (DPT OF CORRECTIONS):  $15,061.86
* 306 CHAIRS (DIV OF ADMINISTRATION):   $59,000
* OPERATING TABLE (CHABERT MEDICAL CENTER):   $30,591.00
* 5 QUEEN ANNE CHAIRS (GOVERNOR'S MANSION):  $500.00
                      chairs purchased in 1966
* BRAILLE NOTETAKER (SCHOOL FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED:  $4,395.00
* MANNEQUIN TRAINING DOLL (DPT HEALTH/HOSPITALS):  $2,045.00
* 70 PORTABLE RADIOS (STATE POLICE):  $158,695.70

"You can't explain this stuff to taxpayers," Kennedy said. "And, we shouldn't try. We ought to just tell them the truth. We need to do a better job and this is just typical of the kind of inefficiencies that can be fixed in state government."

The Recovery School District reported in 2010 it could not account for 180 laptop computers it purchased just one year earlier at a cost of $134,280. Recovery School District spokeswoman Siona LaFrance says many of the computers were stolen.

"We had several thefts," she said. "Somebody stole 78 laptop computers over a Thanksgiving weekend at a school in the Upper 9th Ward. It's a modular school that's even harder than the average school to secure."

LaFrance says they are now storing computers in more secure locations and have hired 24-hour security at schools that have had theft problems.

"What's going to be done about it?," Kennedy asked about the missing items statewide. "I don't know. That's not my job. But, I'll tell you what I'd do about it. Somebody, if you've got repeat offenders here, they ought to be fired."

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says it has since located $1.8 million worth of items that the inventories showed missing.

"You know what I'd do if I were a student at LSU and they were raising my tuition?," Kennedy asked. "You know what I'd say to my elected officials? Before you raise my tuition, why don't you go find that Angus bull you lost?"

Click here for the Statewide Unlocated Assets (2008)

Click here for the Statewide Unlocated Assets (2009)

Click here for the Statewide Unlocated Assets (2010)

Click here for the DOTD Located Assets Report

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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