State auditors are questioning how counties spent about $1.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding that's believed to have been wasteful or ill-advised such as on a grocery story and a plastic blowup "tube man" for promoting a food pantry.
Auditors examined $18 million in discretionary expenses out of about $1 billion that the state received from the $2.2 trillion federal economic stimulus bill approved by Congress in the early stages of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
They concluded that a vast majority of the spending - about $15.2 million - was permitted under . . .