Has A Million Really “Vanished” From The SoMa Community Fund?January 27, 2015
According to the city, $925,666 appears to have “vanished” from the South of Market Community Stabilization Fund, money which was earmarked to fund improvements to local parks and pedestrian safety.
According to the Association of Bay Area Governments, however, the money was properly disbursed to the developer of One Rincon Hill’s first tower as a reimbursement for money the developer had already spent, as was contractually required and negotiated.
And note, while the Chronicle quotes a lawyer for the developer as stating that, “no One Rincon Hill entity received any disbursement from ABAG in 2014,” that’s not the same thing as “never [having] received the money.”
Despite the fact that the funds might have been properly disbursed and it could be that the city’s own dealmakers are responsible for the situation at hand, the “city is looking at all options to recover the funds,” according to the executive director of the mayor’s housing office.
A community advisory committee has been planning to spend the missing $925,666 on a new Folsom Street crossing and renovations to South Park.
UPDATE (1/30): ABAG’s public finance director is under scrutiny for allegedly orchestrating the theft by creating an entity dubbed “Urban West for Rincon Developers” (versus “Urban West Associates,” the actual developer) and requesting $1.3 million be disbursed to the entity as a reimbursement for phantom improvements.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
Quick, let’s form a committee and do a feasibility study to examine how money changes hands from the developer to the Community Fund to the developer. My right hand doesn’t know what my left hand is doing. Oh noes, where did I put my right hand?
This is the *stupidest* “mystery” ever. It turns out that banks have these things called “records”, that keep track of transactions going back *years*. The question of whether the funds were sent, and to whom, should be answerable in a few milliseconds.
The developer was owed ~$925k, they were (allegedly) paid. But, some civil servant paid the developer (allegedly) from the wrong account. No story here. Just developer bashing as usual.
“Surprise, surprise, surprise” -G. Pyle USMC
The city may have gotten this right: Case of missing S.F. bond money has a suspect.
“A senior official at the Association of Bay Area Governments is under scrutiny for allegedly orchestrating the theft of $1.3 million in bond money that was meant for public parks and street improvements in the South of Market neighborhood.
The office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and law enforcement officials have zeroed in on Clarke Howatt, ABAG’s public finance director and a 20-year veteran of the agency, multiple sources confirm.
Howatt, who was scheduled to attend a conference in New York this week, has not returned phone calls or e-mails, said ABAG Executive Director Ezra Rapport. Howatt was slated to return to work Thursday, but did not.”
UPDATE Missing $1.3 Million In SoMa Funds Slated To Be Repaid In Full.
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