PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz responded to Michael Nutter calling him a ‘snake’ and ‘liar’ following the release of a report that accused the former Mayor of lavish spending from a discretionary fund filled with proceeds from the Philadelphia Marathon.
Butkovitz, during an interview with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, said Nutter should’ve been more forthcoming about what he was doing with the money.
“What is he so angry about? It’s the people of Philadelphia’s money. The Marathon is a wonderful project. It was a shock to me that they bring in about four of five million dollars a year just from the fees that the runners pay. It’s supposed to go to things like educational projects, scholarships, green environmental experiments. It’s called the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia and the Mayor gets to set the priorities. If he wanted to set a priority that says that this money should be spent for luxury trips to Rome, he should’ve put that in the list of things it was supposed to do.”
He questioned why money from this account was used to go to Rome under the guise of swaying the Pope to visit Philadelphia and whether the endeavor was even needed.
“First of all, there’s no receipts. Secondly, there’s a city process for taking care of these things. As you recall, the preparations for the Pope’s visit was an extremely big deal in this city and the media was all over Mayor Nutter about, what did you accomplish in Rome? Did you actually have an audience with the Pope? Was the trip necessary to get that meeting or was that meeting already cooked in? He deflected all of those questions and there was a lot of interest in what is this costing because he took a large number of staff people and his people to Rome. He answered those questions by saying don’t worry about it, it’s being funded by private money. If it had gone through the regular city payment process, those vouchers would’ve come to our office and we would’ve demanded receipts. He found a way to go around that, saying it was private money. It turns out, technically, it’s private money, but it’s not really private money. It’s run by the organization that manages the Marathon on behalf of the city.”
Butkovitz believes city spending, in its entirety, is in need of an overhaul.
“It could certainly be improved. The city’s use of technology has repeatedly been a disaster. They’ve spent 50 or 60 million dollars trying to get computer systems up and running…We had similar problems contributing to scandal in the Sheriff’s Office. The data systems that the city has are a disaster but they’re expensive to repair. There’s been a lot of resistance by city workers on doing that. That’s only one aspect of it. In a lot of ways, Philadelphia is many decades behind state of the art business practices. So, that could be improved.”