SANDAG, the San Diego Area Association of Governments has been sued by its former finance officer
This story is a summary of the original story published on the front page of the San Diego Union Tribune . It was written by investigative reporter, Jeff McDonald, on December 3, 2023. Get the original story here.
SANDAG, which has also been called San Diego County’s “Shadow Government” is being called out in a new lawsuit by its recently terminated Finance Director.
The firing of the senior officer brings closer scrutiny and attention to what the legal action refers to as “Troubling and persistent business practices within the $1.2 billion regional planning agency.”
SANDAG terminated finance director Lauren Warrem in November without bothering to state a reason for the termination. Warrem says she was given her pink slip for asking embarrassing questions about vendors that were paid millions of dollars for a defective technology that charged motorists for driving on toll roads that they never used.
According to the San Diego Superior Court claim, Warrem called attention to software glitches that charged drivers who did not drive on the expressway, and deposited money into the accounts of drivers who weren’t owed money. When Warrem persisted in expressing her concerns about the defective software she was shouted down and ostracized.
During one October meeting, an outgoing SANDAG accounting director recommended they not alert auditors to the inaccurate toll-road records, the lawsuit asserts. But Warrem said she refused and was excluded from subsequent email threads and other meetings.
Alarmingly, SANDAG decided to continue paying the vendors for their defective software. Learn more at the San Diego Union Tribune.