Montebello’s finances are effectively in shambles. Past financial dealings have included millions contained in off-the-book accounts, incomplete or non-compliant annual reports, and accounting tricks.

And apparently, the State Controller has had enough. In a letter to city leaders, the Controller notified them that he was ordering an outside and objective audit of the financial situation in Montebello.

The announcement comes as a sense of relief to critics of how the city has been handling its finances, and perhaps this can shed some light on how the city can best proceed on resolving the outstanding issues that are challenging the city’s staff and leaders.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The state controller took the unusual step Thursday of ordering an outside audit of the struggling city of Montebello, saying there is evidence the city produced false financial reports dating back several years.

The action, which marks the first time officials have launched a full city audit since examining wrongdoing in Bell last year, marks an ominous turn for Montebello, which is in danger of running out of money later this year.

The working-class city east of downtown L.A. has been mired in budget problems and allegations of mismanagement and missing money for months. Last week, the city manager brought in to clean up the mess abruptly resigned. Peter Cosentini warned councilmembers that former city officials for years had used accounting tricks to hide the true nature of the city’s financial picture, making it seem as though the city had more money than it actually did.

Read the full article here.