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Error to result in millions of dollars lost for Maricopa County taxing districts

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PHOENIX — Maricopa County, school districts and other taxing districts will be getting millions of dollars less than originally expected after an investment portfolio error was found by county Treasurer John Allen’s office.

The $15.8 million error that was discovered in the investment portfolio revealed the Treasurer’s Office has been over distributing money to these districts during the past three years.

Allen’s office must now correct that error immediately, according to a press release Wednesday, causing the planned 3rd quarter distribution of $18.7 million to be reduced to only $2.9 million.

“It’s unfortunate that the stewardship of the previous administration failed to realize this ongoing problem,” Allen said in the release.

“It is clear that overstating income earned from interest reflected a narrative that served their political purposes. But I can assure the taxpayers that we have solved this problem, so there will be an accurate accounting of their money.”

Allen, a Republican who replaced fellow GOP member Royce Flora following the November election, directed his team at the start of his term to analyze and understand the financial systems in the office, according to the release.

The Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office receives an annual property tax levy of approximately $5 billion from the county and invests in a conservative portfolio that earns millions of dollars in interest, according to the release.

The returns are then distributed to schools and other entities that participate in the investment pool.

Flora, who was elected as treasurer for metro Phoenix in 2016, resigned from the position a couple of weeks before Allen was to be sworn in, citing a “toxic” political environment and other issues.

His resignation letter didn’t list specifics of what he considered abuse.

The Arizona Mirror, meanwhile, reported Flora butted heads with the Board of Supervisors and County Attorney Allister Adel over his efforts to increase the salaries of two treasurer’s office employees.

Allen defeated Daniel Toporek in the general election to be elected the county’s treasurer.

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