Audit: LAX paid $8 million to LAPD for services it cannot provide documentation for

A traveler pulls his bags while walking past an LAX sign at Los Angeles International Airport.
A traveler pulls his bags while walking past an LAX sign at Los Angeles International Airport.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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Los Angeles International Airport paid about $7.87 million to the Los Angeles Police Department to provide unspecified services and there is no documentation to support the payments, according to an audit from the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The full report can be read below.

The money used to pay the LAPD came from revenues generated by the busy airport over five fiscal years, beginning on July 1, 2007, and ending June 30, 2012. Federal law requires that airports which receive federal grant money use revenues to pay for capital and operating costs and not funnel it to cities associated with the airport.

Los Angeles World Airports has its own police department and contracts with the LAPD to provide extra security and policing. The audit found that approximately $192,000 of airport revenue was spent on unauthorized LAPD officers at the airport, including overtime incurred by those officers.

Further, under FAA policy, adequate documentation is needed for the airport to use its revenues to pay other government entities, according to the audit. This can include invoices, vouchers, and cost allocation plans.

"However, we identified about $7.87 million in unsupported charges without adequate documentation for services provided by the Los Angeles Police Department," according to the report.

The federal inspector general began auditing LAX's financial records in July of 2012. A report on the audit was issued April 8. Three lawmakers tipped-off the inspector general.

"Between June 2011 and February 2012, our office received letters from three Congressmen from California expressing concerns about potential revenue diversion at LAWA, including LAX, involving money spent for police and security services," according to the report.

Marshall McClain, is the president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, the union that represents LAX police officers. The following is an excerpt from a written statement he issued on Friday:

“I am deeply concerned about the state of policing as a priority with management at LAX which this federal audit puts into clear view. The shooting last November exposed to the public many concerns that our officers have repeatedly brought to management’s attention. 

"To maintain our great airport and support it as a destination that is sought out by American and world travelers, policing and safety needs to receive the same level of priority as the business model. This audit should not be ignored and it should incite a public outcry and media attention to shame changes at LAX before another incident takes place at the airport that results in loss of lives and permanently impacts the viability of our great airport.”

Officials at Los Angeles World Airports released this statement in response for comment:

“Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) takes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policy concerning the use of airport revenue very seriously. We have embraced the audit and fully cooperated with the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General throughout this process. The report is currently under review by management and counsel. As always, we continue to work to better serve the public.”


Office of Inspector General Audit Report: FAA Oversight is Inadequate to Ensure Proper Use of Los Angeles International Airport Revenue for Police Services and Maximization of Resources