It has been described as a municipal Ponzi scheme, a mess, and corrupt. But the depth of the financial troubles in Lindsay are just being discovered and the solutions may be years off.

Over the past several years, city officials borrowed from one fund to pay bills for another. The intermingling of funds was so convoluted that it is difficult to tell just how much money the city owes. One thing is for certain: it’s a lot.

The scheme came to light after officials began taking money from special funds including sewer and water. That resulted in rate hikes for payers, and sounded the alarms. After discovering the transfers, offending staff and officials were released and the cleanup began. But before it was caught, how bad did it get? Well, some vendors demanded only cash, others stopped working with the city all together.

From the Visalia Times Delta:

The city of Lindsay’s financial chaos is so convoluted and contorted it’s hard to believe it took place.

Unraveling it will take months. Correcting it will take years.

Lindsay officials swapped money with different funds indiscriminately and without any oversight. Money was taken from one fund to patch holes in other funds so randomly it makes a Ponzi scheme look organized.

Read the full article here.