A newly released state audit of a public health insurance plan for state troopers and other law enforcement officials shows the plan is "a fiscal train wreck," state Auditor Mike Foley said Tuesday.
The audit was conducted on the health plan administered by the State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council, which says it represents about 500 Nebraska law enforcement officials.
The auditor's report details widespread mismanagement, including the use of $1.2 million in public funds designated to pay employee health expenses to buy land and construct a building for the State Troopers Association of Nebraska.
Around $57,000 of the money went to buy furnishings, artwork, flat-screen TVs and other items for the building, the report said.
Auditors could find little or no documentation for $60,000 more that was spent, Foley said.
The report shows that, since 2002, SLEBC has received roughly $5 million a year in state money and employee contributions, even though it was never certified as a bargaining unit and never authorized to hold or spend public money.
"There was so much public money being spent, so quickly, with so little oversight or documentation, it's hard to know who bought what, who approved all of this, where's all the merchandise located," Foley said during a news conference at the Capitol. "It's just been an absolute fiscal train wreck, and a terrible embarrassment for the state of Nebraska."
SLEBC's members include Nebraska state troopers, as well as some law enforcement officers in the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Foley said his audit has been stonewalled by public officials "in the highest levels of state government," including the attorney general and governor's office.