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Conn. audit raps development dept. on travel costs

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- State auditors say Connecticut's economic development agency disregarded then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell's ban on out-of-state travel, spending more than $100,000 between 2008 and 2010.

Auditors said Monday that the office of then-Commissioner Joan McDonald bypassed internal controls and did not obtain approval for travel. Rell banned travel in May 2008 as the recession sapped state revenue.

The audit said employees of the Department of Economic and Community Development made more than 40 out-of-state trips from 2008 to 2010. Unapproved spending totaled $111,844.

The audit said McDonald did not account for daily mileage, places visited and overnight parking locations for her state-owned vehicle.

McDonald is New York state's transportation commissioner. She declined to comment.

The audit said Connecticut's development agency said officials believed verbal approvals were sufficient and were obtained.