Internal audit reveals embezzlement by Wanamaker ‘unlikely’

Internal audit reveals embezzlement by Wanamaker ‘unlikely’

A former city employee guilty of embezzlement in Buffalo, N.Y., had little chance to steal from the local government, and likely did not, according to an internal audit released by Alexandria City Hall last week.

The report states that Timothy Wanamker did not have the authority to collect money for transactions in the General Services department of which he was deputy director before resigning last month. He could not authorize payments from the department, either.

“The audit did not discover any internal financial problems or issues,” city spokesman Tony Castrilli said in an email.

Wanamaker, who came to Alexandria after a short stint as a California city manager, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of stealing government funds from the city of Buffalo between 2004 and 2008 while serving in a variety of top posts. He tendered his resignation about 48 hours after revealing he had stolen roughly $30,000 in municipal and federal funds, spending much of it on travel, entertainment, car rentals and hotel rooms.

Unlike in Buffalo, Wanamaker’s post in Alexandria included no travel and Wanamaker only billed for 7.5 hours of compensatory time. Only $40.70 was reimbursed to the general services department during his 15-month tenure, none of which was given to him, according to the audit.

A series of checks and balances within City Hall prevented embezzlement, the report stated, like the finance department’s oversight and approval of transactions. Subsequently, the only form of payment Wanamaker received was in the form of his bi-weekly paycheck, officials said.

“The lack of current evidence with regard to the misappropriation of City assets does not eliminate the possibility that Mr. Wanamaker might have misappropriated city assets in as of yet, [an] undisclosed manner,” the internal report states. “However … we believe that such misappropriation is improbable.”

Wanamaker was the third city employee connected to embezzling this year.