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Aide to Sacramento mayor resigns after money misuse accusations

5:43 PM, Jul 24, 2012   |    comments
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Lisa Serna-Mayorga

SACRAMENTO, CA - Lisa Serna-Mayorga, an aide to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, resigned last week after city officials found discrepancies in her city-issued credit card use.

Serna-Mayorga, who worked on Johnson's first campaign for mayor, was hired as the Mayor and Council Operations Manager and was later promoted to Director of Constituent Affairs.

A source inside city hall told News10 Serna-Mayorga used the credit card for $3,000 in personal purchases in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Upon further review, staffers determined she may have misused the card for several years, totaling up to $9,000, according to the source.

The Sacramento Bee reports the expenses ranged from gasoline to groceries to a trip to Disneyland.

"Lisa is someone who feels very bad about a decision that was made along the way," Johnson said Tuesday. "She has paid back the dollars in a really quick manner."

So how did Serna-Mayorga get away with this for so long?

Johnson is still trying to figure that out, but initially pointed to the City Auditor Jorge Oseguera, saying he is new and is still building procedure.

"One of the things (to be on his) work plan is to do an audit and look at the expenses of credit cards, how they're used, are there enough checks and balances," Johnson explained.

Johnson's statement was contradicted by Oseguera.

"I actually have no direct role in reviewing credit card transactions for the city on a regular basis," Oseguera said.

He went on to say the audit will determine what recommendations will be made to prevent something similar from happening again.

The city manager has directed Sacramento's police chief to look into possible criminal charges.

Serna-Mayorga's family has a long history with the city. Her father, Joe Serna Jr., served as mayor of Sacramento. Her brother, Phil Serna, is a Sacramento County supervisor.

By Nick Monacelli, nick@news10.net

News10/KXTV

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