Audit of governor's spending turns out to be trivial pursuit

CARSON CITY - The next time Nevada's first lady wants a washer and dryer and refrigerator for the mansion, she must get several bids to make sure she buys the most economical models.

That was the conclusion Wednesday of a legislative audit on the governor's office and the governor's mansion. The audit found only trivial problems with the governor's spending.

Auditors criticized Gov. Kenny Guinn for charging $10,000 in transitional expenses to the new governor's budget account when he should have charged it to the Department of Administration.

Governors get $5,000 to cover costs they incur in making the transition from one administration to the next. Costs above that amount are charged to the Department of Administration.

The most amusing portion of the audit pertained to two purchases of mansion furniture that didn't have prior approval of the Budget Division.

While first lady Dema Guinn wasn't mentioned by name in the audit, Victoria Soberinsky, the governor's deputy chief of staff, told the Legislature's Audit Subcommittee on Wednesday that the item dealt with her purchases.

When Guinn took office in January 1999, a $5 million renovation of the mansion was being completed and the home still was a construction zone. Soberinsky said for some reason the refrigerator and washer and dryer had not been replaced, and Dema Guinn bought new ones.

''She expected to pay out of her own pocket,'' Soberinsky said, adding that she later found there was a fund set up for such purchases and sought reimbursement.

Soberinsky also said Gov. Guinn spent a lot of his own money on transitional costs because state funds weren't available.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment