Dep. IRS Commissioner Stayed 5 Nights in Presidential Suite Across Street from Disneyland
(CNSNews.com) – The deputy commissioner of the Small Business/Self-Employed division of the Internal Revenue Service stayed five nights in the presidential suite at the Hilton in Anaheim, Calif.--accommodations ordinarily priced at $1,499 a night--while attending an IRS conference in August 2010.
The Hilton is located "across the street from the Disnelyand Resort."
The presidential suite included a bedroom, living area, conference table, wet bar, and billiard table, according to a newly Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s review.
The three hotels agreed to charge the IRS a rate of $135 per night for all rooms it rented for its 2010 conference, including the suites.
The deputy commissioner of the SB/SE Division stayed five nights in a presidential suite at the Hilton, which would have cost $1,499 per night during a four-night stay.
“As part of the Letters of Intent with the hotels, the IRS received a certain number of free rooms per night as well as suite upgrades that were used by IRS personnel,” the report said.
“Specifically, the Letters of Intent indicate that 93 suite upgrades were provided by the Hilton, 33 by the Marriott, and six by the Sheraton each night of the conference,” the report added. “This represents 4.7 percent of the 2,830 rooms that the hotels agreed to reserve in the Letters of Intent.”
“Although the per diem rate of $135 was charged by the hotels, we determined the rack rates for the upgraded rooms provided ranged from $299 per night to $1,500 per night, depending on the room and the hotel,” the report found.
Rack rate refers to the price the hotel charges for a room before any discount has been applied.
“The Chief Financial Officer should evaluate whether the solicitation of hotel room suite upgrades for use by IRS employees should be allowed in agreements with hotels hosting IRS conferences in the future. In addition, any agreement with hotels containing hotel suite upgrades should be approved by the applicable business unit executive,” TIGTA recommended.
“The IRS agreed with this recommendation,” the report said.
The agency promised to update its manual - Leadership and Education, Selection of Off-Site Locations and Facilities for Training - “to prohibit the solicitation of room suite upgrades and to require approval by the applicable business unit executive when upgrades are offered at no cost to the IRS.”
Also, the IRS said it would “update and reissue Policy and Procedures Memorandum No. 70.24, Acquiring Training, Meeting and Conference Space, to prohibit the solicitation of room suite upgrades and to require approval by the applicable business unit executive when upgrades are offered at no cost to the IRS.”