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City controller calls Houston Airport Systems a 'sloppy' operation

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The Houston Airport System is a multi-million dollar operation that runs on fees and lots of taxpayers' dollars. But if you take a look at some of the accounting practices at the major operation, it could best be described as sloppy, according to Houston City Controller Ronald Green.

He audited the Airport System back in 2012 and found a laundry list of problems that could cost taxpayers.

"These things could go into the millions of dollars," says Green.

Once those errors and deficiencies were brought to the attention of management at the Houston Airport System one year later, Controller Green says the problems are still there.

"Many of the procedures used by the airport to retest the work we did did not meet governmental standards," says Green.

The Controller says we're talking about millions of dollars without supporting or missing documentation for airport related construction projects.

More than a million dollars in questionable or overstated labor costs, and then there's the stuff that leaves you wondering, "Is that even allowed?"

For example, $7,900 in hotel rooms for a contractor's employees in San Antonio for work that auditors did not considered airport-related business.

Then there's $1,300 in charges to the Houston Airport System for a tab at an upscale Houston restaurant. That included dinner and $500 in drinks billed by a project manager.

Also, $2,100 for rooms, meals, and drinks at the Hilton again in San Antonio for a contractor's employees. Auditors say it was billed as Hurricane Ike-related.

"We had vendors that billed us with things that had to do with Ike and they dealt with other cities and those are the things their internal auditor should've caught," says Green.

That would be the Houston Airport System internal auditor, Kertecia Mond. She's a bit busy right now. Mond was charged on Tuesday with filing false insurance claims and forgery out of Florida, allegations her attorney denies.

Green says Mond was hired to deal with the problems they found in 2012.

"They brought in their own auditor. I did not work with Ms. Mond. She does not work for this office, but even with Ms. Mond being there, we still found some of the deficiencies are persistent," says Green.

FOX 26 News attempted to get a comment from the Houston Airport System but a spokesperson has yet to respond.

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