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Justice Department audit finds city of Cleveland spent $41.5 million in RNC funds appropriately

Posted at 3:05 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 18:54:39-05

The Department of Justice released a report Tuesday auditing how the city of Cleveland spent millions in federal funds disbursed for the 2016 Republican National Convention. It found, overall, the funds were spent appropriately.

Congress allotted $49.9 million for the city to spend on security-related expenses for the RNC. A similar amount was given to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, as well.

Cleveland, however, only ended up spending roughly $41.5 million, coming in under budget on major expenses, like overtime.

According to the report, the DOJ found that Cleveland generally managed the federal funds appropriately and revealed no major concerns. The only recommendation was that Cleveland track grant-funded vehicles within its inventory.

Many of the items purchased for that one week are still in use today, including specialty vehicles, custom bikes and personal protective equipment (riot gear) for Cleveland Police officers.

The bikes, which were often seen keeping the peace during the RNC, have since been used for routine patrols and during parades, demonstrations and special events.

“They’re extremely useful for general police work and great for community relations,” said Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia.

Councilman Matt Zone said the report is gratifying, because it validates the city’s spending was appropriate.

Zone added that the city only kept equipment it felt it needed. Out of the 300 bikes that were purchased, 150 were kept by CPD and 150 were sold off to other departments around the country.

“We felt that overall, our police department is better equipped today, better trained today and we were good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Councilman Zone said.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson released the following statement:

“While the positive results of the Department of Justice audit may be a surprise to some, it was no surprise to the City of Cleveland. We not only hosted one of the best and safest conventions, but successfully managed a $49 million grant. As a city with a budget of more than $1.7 billion and one that has demonstrated sound financial management, we know how to manage resources. The team from the City and our partners are true professionals. I thank them for their support and attention to detail. It helped make the Republican National Convention a success and the series of audit visits that followed just as successful.”

A similar audit is being conducted for Philadelphia and the DNC, but has not yet been completed.