The Justice Department's inspector general has rethought its recent assertion that agency employees at a professional conference got bilked for breakfast muffins at $16 a pop.
In response to continuing media coverage and denials by Justice and the hotel chain that hosted the fateful event, a spokesman for the IG on Tuesday issued the following statement, originally in response to a query from Bloomberg Businessweek:
The $16 muffin was based on documentation obtained during the audit showing that the department was invoiced by the Capital Hilton Hotel $4,200 including gratuity and service charge for 250 muffins. Although we made repeated attempts over several months to reach the Capital Hilton during the course of the audit to discuss its billing, it was not responsive to our numerous requests. Since our report was issued, the Capital Hilton has stated that other food and beverage items, such as coffee, tea, and fruit, were included in the charged amount, but did not provide any supporting documentation. Even if the $4,200 fee included additional food and beverage items, the OIG believes, as stated in our report, that many individual food and beverage items listed on conference invoices and paid by the department were very costly.