The police union has added a new defendant to its lawsuit against the city and its officials: audit house KPMG.

The San Diego Police Officers Association claims that KPMG, the auditor that has withheld its blessing of the city’s 2003 financial statements, is conspiring with City Hall to cover up the city’s true fiscal health.

KPMG has said that it would not bless the city’s financial statements until it examines the recently released Kroll report and is assured that the city’s internal controls are safe. Mayor Jerry Sanders is expected to release a timetable for the certification of the 2003 audits next week.

The police union, however, alleges that KPMG is stalling in an effort to conceal the city’s financial information, including the funding level for the retirement system.

The union’s lawsuit also claims that the city, its officials, its retirement board and the City Council illegally underfunded its employee pension plan when the plan’s benefits were created so that the city could eliminate its contributions to Social Security. The Police Officers Association is not represented in City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s primary challenge to the pension benefits.

This case is pending in federal court and is due for trial in November.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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