Laura Chick, the former city controller who tried to account for tax dollars penny by penny, putting many council members on notice, is the new sheriff in town in Sacramento as a state inspector charged with keeping tabs on federal stimulus money headed to the Golden State.

She's already ruffling feathers and today announced that the state has found half a million dollars in questionable spending at one nonprofit group that's getting federal stimulus cash. The Economic Opportunity Council of San Francisco, which bills itself as an organization that addresses poverty through education, nutrition and employment programs, has been misspending tax dollars, according to announcement made by Chick today.

The inquiry by California's Community Services Department found “as much as $542,478.47 in disallowed expenditures including co-mingling funds, board of directors retreats at a luxury casino, coffee services, drinking water and flowers,” according to a Chick statement.

The inspector says the finding should jeopardize $159,000 in further stimulus funds slated for the group, and that the state should also question its own funding of the council.

“President Obama and Governor Schwarzenegger have made it clear that the Recovery Act dollars must be maximized for the public benefit and be spent wisely and well,” Chick said. “Funding an agency that time and again has been unable to bring itself out of problematic conditions is not in line with this mandate from the President and Governor.”

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