The $1.3 million that was embezzled from a city account overseen by the Association of Bay Area Governments and intended to fund public infrastructure improvements in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood will be repaid by the Association.

ABAG will use its own reserve funds to fully restore the missing $1,296,340.66, which was withdrawn from the City’s account without the knowledge or approval of San Francisco city officials.  The legal documents effectuating the transfer of funds, a transfer which is likely be triple checked, should be finalized by early next week.

“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 City Attorney Dennis Herrera.  “This decisive step will enable the South of Market Community Stabilization Committee to continue its work to improve neighborhood infrastructure.”

A former senior ABAG official, Clarke Howett, is suspected of orchestrating the embezzlement scheme.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Ludy Rudy

    Wow. How ……….?

  2. Posted by Ham

    In other words, the taxpayers are paying for it, not the ABAG.

  3. Posted by NJ

    If they have the goods on Howett (and his behavior suggests they do) the money will be clawed back. I’m interested in the follow up – is this the first time? Or just the biggest?

    • Posted by Alai

      According to some message board commentator, “in 1968 the assistant to the Director of ABAG embezzled $500k”.

    • Posted by johntrev

      With multiple properties in far flung places, a boat kept in Portland, OR, and generous charitable donations on a $150K salary, I too was wondering if perhaps this guy has helped himself before. (Name link for SF Chron story).

  4. Posted by phongpei

    The money will never be repaid. Any funds recovered will pay for his attorney fees…

    • Posted by NJ

      The amounts of settlements usually include investigation fees, attorney fees, and accounting fees. And this guy has the property to liquidate and cover that.

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