Two independent audits of the chicago Park District that were released last week reveal projected deficits in the district's bond and corporate funds.
Nora Moreno, the district's spokeswoman, said the audits found a $44 million shortfall in the district's bond-financed capital program. Moreno said that $60. million of general obligation bonds issued by the district in February was supposed to cover capital projects for fiscal 1993, which began Jan. 1, and fiscal 1994. However, auditors found another $44 million was needed to complete the scheduled projects.
As a result, Park District genera superintendent Forrest Claypool has laid off 248 workers, put a freeze on capital projects, and is reevaluating and prioritizing projects, Moreno said.
The audits also uncovered a $3 million to $ 1 0 million deficit in the district's $159 million fiscal 1993 corporate account. Moreno said that Claypool has ordered a hiring and spending freeze to eliminate the shortfall.
Claypool was named superintendent by Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago in July.
Todd Whitestone, a managing director at Standard & Poor's Corp., said he was concerned about the audit's findings and would a request an update from the district about how it plans to solve the problems.
Standard & Poor's Corp. rates $278 million of the district's GO debt AA-minus. Moody's Investors Service rates the district A1 on $340 million of GO debt.