City Attorney Dennis Herrera

Herrera grateful to ABAG for fully restoring $1.3 million to SOMA Improvement Fund

Unanimous decision follows demand from Controller and City Attorney last week, will enable SOMA committee to continue making neighborhood improvements

City Attorney Dennis HerreraSAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 3, 2015) — The Association of Bay Area Governments’ financing authority today approved using its own reserve funds to fully restore $1.3 million to San Francisco for a dedicated fund intended for public infrastructure improvements in the South of Market neighborhood. A former senior ABAG official is a suspect in an embezzlement scheme that depleted the account, which law enforcement authorities are currently investigating. The unanimous decision by the executive committee of ABAG’s Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations follows a Jan. 28 letter from City Attorney Dennis Herrera and City Controller Ben Rosenfield demanding the immediate return of $1,296,340.66, which was withdrawn without the knowledge or approval of San Francisco city officials. The withdrawal violated terms of an indenture agreement governing ABAG’s administration of the funds.

“The misuse of public funds for private gain is among the worst betrayals of public trust in government, and I applaud ABAG for doing the right thing by acting quickly to restore funds that were apparently embezzled from the City’s account,” said Herrera. “This decisive step will enable the South of Market Community Stabilization Committee to continue its work to improve neighborhood infrastructure. My office will continue to cooperate with ABAG to rectify the wrongdoing, and with the law enforcement agencies working to bring the perpetrator to justice.”

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