Audit to look at Sunshine

WARREN – The firm auditing Warren for the state has agreed to pay special attention to the city’s financial transactions with Sunshine or Warren Trumbull Inc. and include that in its report.

Mayor Doug Franklin made a request for special attention and a report be made on all financial transactions involving the city and Sunshine, a private, nonprofit organization created in early 1993.

Franklin’s request was made in response to intense scrutiny being paid to Sunshine after it was revealed in March that the organization owed more than $188,000 in back property taxes and fines.

Some city and county leaders, as well as citizen organizations, have been asking for an investigation of the organization’s finances through the state auditor’s office and a criminal investigation through the attorney general’s office.

The city’s effort will focus strictly on transactions made between the city and Sunshine. It will not address any other financial issue facing the organization.

“It should not cost that much additional since they already are here,” Franklin said.

The auditing firm, Rea & Associates, has been working with the city in reviewing its 2012 budget for the state’s annual budget review. Franklin said the firm will be looking at current financial transactions between the city and Sunshine.

There only has been one financial transaction between the two organizations between 2008 and 2013, Franklin said.

The report should be completed within a month.

Sunshine was created in the early 1990s, after Warren and Trumbull county officials agreed to work together to make the area eligible to receive direct funding from HUD for the development of a low- to moderate-income housing program.

However, to receive the funds, a Community Housing Development Organization was needed to receive the money and to operate the housing program, so a group of community residents came together to create the private nonprofit.