An Incredible Twist in Oakridge Financial Saga

Oakridge fund fuss takes an odd twist

Auditor quits as citizens and the city squabble over “Secret Millionaire”

BY WINSTON ROSS

OAKRIDGE — For the past nine months, the people of Oakridge have been trying to keep a secret.

It was supposed to be a good kind of secret, something about a film crew in town, money being donated to a city in dire need of it. But everyone had to keep their mouths shut, or the money might all go away.

On Monday night, the cat got out of the bag. And by the end of a work session that was supposed to be about hiring Oakridge’s next city manager, the city’s forensic accountant had resigned in tears, and Councilor Amy Kordosky wondered aloud:

“Part of me wishes that money was never…”

She didn’t finish the sentence. She didn’t have to.

The money, the secret, came from a wealthy, anonymous donor. This donor, it was revealed at the work session, is affiliated with an ABC television series that just began airing episodes earlier this month called “Secret Millionaire.” The premise of the show is that a wealthy donor picks a town somewhere in America that’s down and out, and then travels to that town incognito, posing as an ordinary Joe.

The two episodes that have so far aired were in Oklahoma City and Newark, N.J.

While city officials said they are now allowed to reveal the existence of the money, the name of the donor must still be kept secret, or the money will go away.

If there’s one thing Oakridge needs, after discovering last summer that city officials had allowed its cash reserves to be almost completely drained, it’s money.

Rumors swirled all over town in the past nine months. People called the newspaper asking questions about the film crew they saw filming interviews in Oakridge and reports of the money. The Register-Guard filed public records requests of the city, seeking information, but was told there were no records regarding this query.

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