2 County Officials Call for an Audit of Investments


In the wake of Orange County’s recent investment in troubled Edison International, two top county officials have requested an immediate internal audit of such procedures at the county treasurer’s office.

“There’s an art to making investments,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Cynthia P. Coad, who joined the county’s chief executive, Michael Schumacher, in making the request. Internal audits, she said, are “an integral part of a well-run county government.”

Schumacher could not be reached for comment.

John M.W. Moorlach, who became treasurer-tax collector in the wake of the county’s 1994 bankruptcy, said he welcomes the internal audit. “We are a transparent and open shop,” he said, “and we welcome any review of our procedures. We have gotten clean reports in the past, and we’re looking forward to another one.”


In a memo sent Tuesday to members of the county’s Audit Oversight Committee, Peter Hughes, director of the Internal Audit Department, conveyed the request and responded. “Internal Audit is able to fit this request into our schedule,” Hughes wrote. “The issue of compliance with investment guidelines is in my Audit Plan for the year 2001, and we have already set aside 900 hours to perform this review. I can easily expand the scope . . . to include the procedures leading up to the selection of the investments.”

Moorlach recently came under fire after his staff invested $40 million in the giant utility company just weeks after a credit-rating agency issued warnings about the state’s power market.