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Denver Auditor: Provider of services for disabled ‘mismanaged’ taxpayer money

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DENVER -- Denver Auditor Timothy O'Brien said one of the largest providers of services for children and adults with disabilities has “mismanaged” taxpayer dollars.

“Whether you are a nonprofit or a government agency you have a duty and a responsibility that your operation operates efficiently,” O'Brien said Thursday.

The audit targets Rocky Mountain Human Services, a group that has received more than $120 million over the last ten years in taxpayer money.

The report says RMHS overspent by nearly $480,000 on office expenses, including providing perks to employees such as paying for Costco memberships, home Internet bills and catering for staff meetings.

“That’s bad, that money is supposed to go to kids, special need kids,” Tiffani Jones, a parent with three children at RMHS said.

FOX31 Denver asked the head of Denver’s Department of Human Services if the city's contract with RMHS would be terminated as a result of the audit.

“We are under a contract to give them money because they provide a valuable service," executive director Don Mares said. “But we are going to monitor the money we give them a lot better,” he added.

Mares expressed confidence in the new leadership at Rocky Mountain, a group that provides services to around 3,000 patients in the Denver area. The contract runs until 2017.

“I want to be sure the taxpayers know the first priority and commitment is with the customers that we serve,” Shari Repinski, interim executive director of RMHS, said.

Repinksi said changes have already been made including replacing old leadership and ending employee perks like paying for membership at Costco.

“We take the actions of the audit very seriously,” Repinski said.

RMHS patient and parent concerns were addressed at a forum Thursday night.