Stimulus spending gone overboard? Issa eyes Port of L.A.'s yacht

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 2/14/2012

The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ top investigative committee wants to know why the Port of Los Angeles spent nearly $500,000 upgrading a 73-foot yacht.

The yacht reportedly has been used mostly for VIP tours.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has asked Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz to explain why and how port leaders were able to spend $489,000 to add a hybrid-electric propulsion system to Angelena II.

“At a time when city, state and federal budgets are at the breaking point, taxpayers should be able to rely on their elected officials making sound decisions about spending taxpayer money,” Issa said in a news release. “The Port of Los Angeles owes the public greater transparency about this project and a full accounting of the cost-benefit analysis used to justify spending on this type of project.”

The $489,000 was part of $1.5 million the port received for its Port Technology Advancement Program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In his letter to the port, Issa asked Knatz several questions, including “What information did the Department of Energy request when you applied for reimbursement of the retrofit?”

A Los Angeles TV news station first reported the spending, and tried unsuccessfully to get a comment from Knatz regarding the yacht.

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