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Audit Of Balboa Park Centennial Group Underway

Photo caption:

Photo by Stephen Dunn

Photo credit: Getty Images

The Lily Pond sits in front of the Botanical Building at Balboa Park on August 2, 2008 in San Diego, California.

A financial and performance audit of a volunteer group that tried to put on a yearlong celebration of Balboa Park's centennial is underway, the San Diego city auditor said Wednesday.

At a meeting of the City Council's Environment Committee, Auditor Eduardo Luna said the investigation into Balboa Park Celebration Inc. should be completed next month, with a report released in July.

"We're assessing BPCI's compliance with the (memorandum of understanding with the city), and specifically we're looking at determining sources and amounts of BPCI funding, determine how those funds were used, what was received, and also what's outstanding," Luna said. "In addition, we're also assessing the city's involvement in oversight over BPCI."

The organization voted last month to fold and turn over its activities to the city, which now plans to stage a celebration anchored by the annual December Nights festivals and two other major -- but so far unspecified -- events next year. The city also plans to lean on programs being put together separately by the park's cultural institutions.

Gerry Braun, who is helping BPCI to disband, said the group and City Attorney's Office have agreed on terms to terminate the MOU. He said he's been in regular contact with the city's auditors.

The group's decision to dissolve came amid questions over what the city got in return for its $2.6 million investment, and whether the organization would open its records to the public.

Hopes to turn the 100th anniversary of the park into a major extravaganza fell apart for lack of sponsor support. City leaders had hoped the celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, would receive international attention.

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