LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A dispute has arisen between Los Angeles County and state auditors who want to see records involving the deaths of children who had been under the supervision of the troubled Department of Children and Family Services.

Despite a warning from California’s state auditor that they were committing a crime, Los Angeles County supervisors have defied a subpoena for records involving the deaths, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The inquiry was launched by the Legislature after reports in The Times that more than 70 children had died since 2008 of abuse or neglect after coming to the attention of L.A. County social workers. Many of those deaths involved serious case management errors, county officials have confirmed, according to The Times.

The audit seeks to identify whether systemic flaws contributed to fatalities in Los Angeles and other counties. Lawmakers said it probably would result in legal reforms, according to The Times.

A lawyer hired by L.A. County told The Times that officials had provided dozens of boxes of records and allowed auditors to interview social workers but would not turn over documents they believe are shielded by attorney-client privilege.

“In addition to the county’s established right to protect its communications with its attorneys, the county seeks to preserve its ability to candidly evaluate its child protective services…,” attorney Daniel P. Barer wrote in a response to questions from The Times.

The three other counties subject to the probe–Alameda, Fresno and Sacramento–have complied with similar subpoenas, but auditors said they were confronted by “stalling tactics and unyielding refusal” in Los Angeles, The Times reported.

As a result, state officials said they would issue an audit that addresses only the three other counties while they fight for access in Los Angeles.

“But make no mistake, we will not relent in accomplishing our mission of performing the audit that we were directed to perform by the Legislature,” wrote Sharon Reilly, chief legal counsel for state auditor Elaine Howle.