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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary
Minnesota Zoological Garden


Financial Audit Division Report 07-30 Released  November 8, 2007


The Minnesota Zoological Garden (Zoo) generally had adequate internal controls over its financial activities; however, it should improve its separation of incompatible financial duties.

The Zoo should also improve compliance with legal requirements related to its revenue operations, imprest cash account, employee travel expenditures, and professional/technical contracts.

The report contains ten audit findings.

Key Findings:

  • Prior Finding Partially Resolved: The Zoo did not ensure it received the correct amount of commission revenues from its service contractors.
  • The Zoo overpaid its food service contractor by about $30,000.
  • The Zoo did not adequately separate key financial duties.
  • The Zoo did not comply with imprest cash requirements.
  • Prior Finding Not Resolved: The Zoo did not comply with applicable employee expense policies.
   Audit Scope:

Period Audited:
  • Security access controls as of January 2007.
  • July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006, for professional/technical expenditures.
  • July 1, 2003, through December 31, 2006, for all other activity.
Areas Examined:
  • Selected cash and revenue operations
  • Payroll and travel expenditures
  • Professional/technical services contracts

Agency Background:

The Minnesota Zoological Garden, which opened in 1978, is located in Apple Valley, Minnesota. It is governed by Minnesota Statutes 2006, chapter 85A, as a "partnership between the private sector and the state" to provide unique opportunities for Minnesotans and out-of-state visitors to experience and learn about wildlife. The Minnesota Zoological Board manages and controls the Zoo. The board consists of 30 public and private sector members. The board is responsible for appointing a director who serves as the chief administrative officer of the Zoo. Lee Ehmke is the current director.

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