Audit finds Philadelphia Parking Authority shortchanged city

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Parking Authority shortchanged the city's school district and lost millions in uncollected parking fees, according to two audits released Thursday by Pennsylvania's fiscal watchdog.

The audits, released by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, examined the PPA's operations and policies, in particular whether the appropriate revenue was sent to the School District of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the audits were launched after the 2016 resignation of PPA's executive director Vincent Fenerty Jr. over sexual harassment accusations. Fenerty has said he's been advised not to talk about the accusations.

The decisions made by Fenerty cost the School District of Philadelphia $322,232, according to the audits. DePasquale also concluded that the authority didn't collect $76.8 million in parking fees that could have gone to the school district.

DePasquale called PPA's board "absentee landlords," and said they should have fired Fenerty following his admission to a June 2015 complaint of sexual harassment.

PPA Chairman Joe Ashdale said the former executive director misled the board and made employees fearful of retaliation.

The audits also found Fenerty manipulated records to improperly pay himself for unpaid leave. The finding has been referred to the IRS, the state Attorney General's Office and the State Ethics Commission, DePasquale said.

The authority spent over $7,600 on $25 gift cards as a way to boost morale and allowed an employee to be reimbursed $16,316 for courses taken as a culinary arts major, according to the audits.

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

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