State Parks Official Resigns, Department Funds Under Investigation

State Parks Director Ruth Coleman stepped down Friday along with a chief deputy amid questions about the department's funds

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    State Parks director Ruth Coleman speaks at the grand opening of the Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach on April 25, 2009

    The director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation has resigned and a deputy has been fired after officials learned the department has been sitting on nearly $54 million in surplus money for years.

    State Parks Director Ruth Coleman stepped down Friday along with a chief deputy amid questions about the department's funds.

    Clark Blanchard, a spokesman for the secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, says the attorney general's office is investigating and state finance officials will conduct an audit.

    Some state parks have been threatened with closure because of the budget crisis.

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