Three former City College of San Francisco administrators, including a former chancellor, pleaded not guilty to charges that they steered more than $150,000 in college funds into bond campaigns, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Former chancellor Philip Day, administrative services officer Stephen Herman and vice chancellor James Blomquist are accused of using public funds to support community college bond campaigns.
San Francisco district attorney Kamala Harris last week charged Day and Herman with conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds, concealing an account of public money, grand theft, using college funds to support a political campaign, and making a political contribution in someone else’s name.
“Misusing public funds and laundering money for political purposes are serious offenses that jeopardize the integrity of the political process and weaken the public trust,” Harris said in a statement. “The leaders of our public institutions must uphold their civic and fiduciary duties or face serious consequences.”
California law specifically bans using community college funds on political campaigns. The charges stem from a $195 million general obligation bond measure passed by San Francisco voters in 2001 and a $246.3 million referendum passed in 2005.
Among other accusations, the district attorney alleges that Day and Herman directed Pepsi Co. to pay $50,000 owed to the college under a soft-drink vending contract to the 2001 bond campaign committee, and that they directed the Bean Scene, a campus coffee shop, to pay $20,000 to the 2005 campaign. They’re also accused of diverting $28,000 to a committee promoting a statewide community college bond measure in 2006.
Blomquist is accused of directing a motorcycle training company that rented space on campus to pay $10,000 of lease payments to the 2005 campaign instead of the college.
All three men were released on bail.