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Mass. Auditor Calls For State Control Of Agency

BOSTON — The state Auditor is calling for an outside receiver to take control of a public agency that serves special-needs children after her office found that more than $30 million may have been spent inappropriately.

Auditor Suzanne Bump found that the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative, longtime leader John Barranco, and others spent inappropriately on salaries, inflated rents and pension fraud, as well as on luxuries including country club outings.

A draft of her report obtained by The Boston Globe says collaborative officials obstructed her investigation.

Bump’s probe follows accusations by the state inspector general that Barranco siphoned more than $10 million in taxpayer money from the collaborative to a related nonprofit organization to inflate salaries and benefits.

A lawyer for the collaborative says the board is working to address criticisms.

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