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Energy Office Head Calls For Audit For Unaccounted $9M

DENVER (CBS4) - The head of the Governor's Energy Office says his staff is trying to detail what happened to $9 million as a state lawmaker has called for an audit.

The energy office has now requested an audit of itself. The expenses in question were incurred under a different administration and the current director told CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd Wednesday that priorities have changed.

The Governor's Energy Office says it has nothing to hide and will prove it.

"We want to be as transparent as possible," Director TJ Deora said.

Deora says that is why he has asked for a state audit and is scrambling to explain the $9 million that state records show the office spent over three years, but didn't account for.

TJ Deora
TJ Deora (credit: CBS)

"We appreciate the feedback someone tried to get information; they couldn't get it, and so it's our job to make sure we can get it to them," Deora said.

That someone is Rep. Cindy Acree, R-District 40. She says she filed an Open Records Request under the previous director for the office's expense reports. They showed line after line with no explanation.

"The money is there, the money is documented," Deora said.

Deora says the problem is the state's antiquated database doesn't detail the documentation.

"When you put inquiries in it returns descriptions that are not possible to understand; and that was about 8 percent of the total items," Deora said.

Some of the items were also questionable, such as money for a Democratic caucus luncheon, for example, and $52,000 in phone bills.

Deora says things have changed.

"When we have lunches in our office it comes out of my personal pocket," Deora said. "We're focused on efficient government. The previous administration was new energy economy. This administration is trying to make government as transparent and accessible and as well-functioning as possible; it's a different focus, a different priority."

He insists a state audit will bear that out.

In the meantime, Deora says his office will be issuing a report as early as this week explaining the $9 million in expenses that the state's computer system didn't account for.

The Legislative Audit Committee still needs to approve the audit, which could take a year to complete. It will look at both state and federal dollars spent by the office.

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