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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ACAP Director Charged With Felonies; Questions Persist

ANALYSIS
Feb. 22, 2012 | Now that the Alameda County District Attorney has charged Nanette Dillard and Paul Daniels, the husband and wife duo alleged to have bilked the county agency they ultimately ran into the ground, there are far more broader question involvings their wrong doing and the knowledge of it by a handful of officials from numerous cities and the president of the Board of Supervisors.

Alameda County District Nancy O'Malley Tuesday charged Dillard and Daniels with felony counts of grand theft and conspiracy to commit a crime. Dillard faces an additional felony charge of crime by a public officer. "When public officials misappropriate and mismanage funds, not only do they break the law, but they also violate the public’s trust in our agencies," said O'Malley.

Dillard was the executive director of the Associated Community Action Program from 2004 to 2011. Her husband, Daniels, held the position of the agency's grant manager. The program headquartered in Hayward was created in 1972 under a joint powers agreement among every city in the county, excluding Oakland and Berkeley. Its primary function was to eradicate poverty in the county and help the poor and recently incarcerated amass savings and equity once they got back on their feet. It also groomed the underprivileged for one day owning their businesses.

In the aftermath of complaints last February by ACAP's 30 employees over bounced paychecks, the county was alerted to alleged mismanagement of the agency by Dillard. Shortly later, she was terminated and the 13-member governing board made up of elected council members and mayors from each city council, including the Board of Supervisors voted to dismantle the agency and begin the process of winding down its operations.

The complaint charges Dillard and Daniels falsified ACAP's financial statements when applying for federal grants. The additional funds were then allegedly used for their own personal benefit. The D.A. accuses the couple of spending ACAP funds on spa treatments and using ACAP personnel for work at their home, in addition, to work at the residence of Dillard's brother.

All of the complaints listed in D.A.'s complaint were public knowledge, including the use of illegitimate bank transfers at a Citibank in the East Bay. Salacious accounts by former ACAP employees alleging the use of staff at the home of Dillard and Daniels were also lodged during numerous ACAP Governing Board meetings last February. So why did it take so long to charge them with a crime?

Dillard sued the same Governing Board last summer alleging, among other things, she was wrongfully terminated. Court filings show Dillard says the governing board violated the Brown Act when it moved to terminate her employment in a closed session meeting last Feb. 2. She also claims the board has not responded to numerous public records requests, even though one report appears to have been written by Dillard herself.

The span of allegations against Dillard and Daniels possibly leading to the downfall of an important county program reserved for the poorest among us is obviously deplorable, but clearly there is more going on than meets the eye.

Because of the unique genesis of ACAP's formation 30 years ago under a joint powers agreement, this potential scandal is wide-ranging and could affect elected officials in nearly every city in Alameda County. Nearly every single member of the ACAP Governing Board has been able to sidestep their role in possibly turning a blind eye to Dillard's alleged criminal enterprise. For two years, the governing board failed to consistent have enough members show up to achieve a quorum of seven.

Even when serious trouble over ACAP's finances began to surface in early 2011, there seemed to be little impetus for some members to pay closer attention. As reported in The Citizen last year, attendance records showed only 4 of the 13 members had perfect attendance records. Others continued a shocking pattern of nonattendance even as meetings occurred with far greater frequency to handle the program's violently shaking foundation.

A representative from the City of Alameda listed by the governing board's records as Mayor Marie Gilmore missed all four meetings in February 2011. The late Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman missed three of four during the same fateful month that ultimately ended ACAP as a resource for county residents.

While the Dillard's may have been plundering a county agency for their personal benefit, 13 elected officials appear to have been negligent for, at minimum, actually showing up to meetings. Some county officials now claim their poor attendance records were actually the doing of Dillard. They allege she conspired to falsely notify certain members not to attend scheduled meetings due to a lack of a quorum when one would have otherwise been attained.

A report compiled by the Alameda County Auditor covering the situation at ACAP originally due in the spring of 2011 did not arrive until much later in the fall. Although the audit found little wrongdoing on the county's side, it did find a mandated yearly audit of ACAP had not been performed by the county.

As ACAP employees railed against Dillard over missing and bounced paychecks last February, the governing board inexplicably approved giving the Dillards $20,000 in pay following their termination. San Leandro Councilwoman Diana Souza, who to her misfortune, only became the chair of the ACAP governing board a few weeks earlier, asked the Board of Supervisors for a loan to cover payroll. Initially, they balked at the request before agreeing to a lower amount.

The road to ACAP's downfall was set, but not before several governing members including Souza, Albany Councilman Robert Lieber and then-Emeryville Mayor Nora Davis exhibited oddly dismissive comments during their subsequent meetings. Some of the early meetings in Hayward took the tone of 13 members doing their best to absolve themselves of responsibilities with ACAP. Albany, Emeryville and Union City openly talked of rebellion.

One member, though, took the lead during two of these emergency meeting. It was likely because it appeared his own board would ultimately be the agency charged with cleaning up the mess at ACAP.

What did Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley know about ACAP and Dillard's dealings in its demise? As the ACAP Governing Board jettisoned Dillard and Daniels at the same time claiming they had no inkling the program of which they were overseeing was nearing implosion, Miley was saying otherwise. At an ACAP meeting on Feb. 24, 2011, Miley told the board he was aware of the agencies financial problems for months. Before the newly-appointed counsel suggested Miley was offering "too much attention" during the meeting, he told the group he attempted to help Dillard with the agencies problems. Miley never elaborated on how or what kind of assistance he offered Dillard.

During a board of supervisors meeting a week later, Miley took blame for the ACAP Governing Board's dissonance. “I accept responsibility for the lack of sufficient oversight. It could have kept ACAP alive.” Of course, ACAP is nearly dissolved. Its functions now spread all over the county's social service apparatus. That is clear. What is not is why did Miley know about the impending doom at ACAP before everyone else did and why didn't he stop it, especially if the alleged wrongdoing is now the subject of a criminal complaint?

36 comments :

Steven,

Mayor Marie Gilmore was never the ACAP representative. The county's records are wrong (part of the oversight issue possibly?), so continuing to cite them is odd. Last March, Diana Souza acknowledged that she directed County Staff to change the representative to Mayor Gilmore because nobody from Alameda had been attending. However, ACAP does not choose the representatives, and the City’s paper trail is very clear that Alameda's representative is, and has been, Doug deHaan since 2009 without change.

It appears that ACAP may not have alerted De Haan to meetings, but that doesn’t explain why he never questioned the lack of meetings for 18 months (nor anybody else wondering why there were no reports). To continue to specifically call out Gilmore for having a role in this issue is not correct.

Here are the documents to support the above:

Here’s the Aug 2009 letter from then-Mayor Beverly Johnson confirming De Haan’s appt


The City’s list of Council appointments from July 2010 shows that De Haan is the representative



The City’s list from March 2011 shows that is still the case.


And as of this month

Blogger killed the links:
Letter: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_cVLtdL6buKOXJjU0w4ZDNUZzJDclRkV0oyLWZsZw

July 2010: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_cVLtdL6buKOXZhY1poZFdTSUdNRk9Wei03VldOZw

March 2011: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_cVLtdL6buKRmJobUpBamtUMS1CZ3FlNTQxVUVOQQ

February 2012: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_cVLtdL6buKSnVjLXNoT2JTNXltdWs1MWxtUktrZw

So you want De Haan's picture up there instead?

De Haan was suppose to go to the meetings, then Gilmore, but she didn't know, they say, or she thought he was going and he thought she was going.

I apologize in advance, but do you know what this sounds like? Alameda Fire and Police fighting with each other over the radio while a guy drowned in the bay. In this case, very poor people lost a county program established to rise them up and 13 elected officials could have cared less.

I was at those ACAP meetings, all of the participants didn't give a damn about anything that was going down whether it was positive or negative, before or after.

Bottom line is nobody from Alameda even stepped foot in the meetings while the whole things was in the process of crumbling.

Agreed that the bottom line is that nobody even stepped foot in the meetings.

I just think that pinning it on someone who became mayor after the problem, and was never on the JPA is pointing the finger at an innocent bystander.

Plus, there were many others who didn't show up, so pinning it on a single individual seems problematic. If you have to have an Alameda face, De Haan's the representative, so that would be the appropriate face.

Back when I was writing for The Island, he refused to answer questions about his lack of attendance.

From Alameda's oversight perspective, there should be some sort of check-back process for making sure that representatives are attending the meetings. That would allow the Mayor (Johnson,not Gilmore at the time of the lack of oversight) to be aware that her appointee is not attending.

Placing regular updates on the council agenda would ensure that someone was clued in that there was a problem.

I can't even speculate why it didn't occur to De Haan that he wasn't going to meetings for the Board. He probably never heard from them since the County had his seat listed as vacant in January 2011. But one would expect that it would occur to him that 12 months had passed (or 18) and he hadn't attended anything. But we're all busy, so maybe it just never hit his radar.

Brilliant article!

There are definitely a lot of questions to be answered. My question is why this was not sent to the State AGs office instead of the Alameda County DA? With the involvement of Miley and Haggerty, both who appointed O'Malley as DA, in the first place, both who approve her budget, there is a definite conflict of interest. It's your standard smoke and mirrors tactic. By pushing the DA to scapegoat these two folks, it gets people looking in the wrong direction.

Miley replaced himself with Haggerty on the ACAP board right when Haggerty needed his support on redistricting so that the new district lines would not place his home outside of his district.

Smells like a cover up to me.

i agree with the above shouldnt the state AG be charging or federal charging since it was federal money that was misused.

i thought with grants (federal/state) you have to submit basically a busiess plan (goals/objectives) and what purchases and expenses will help in acheiving. there are detailed outlines in to what are acceptable and not acceptable purchases/expenses besides specific rules and regulations for the grant. besides that you have to have an internal audit by grantee then audit by grantor. the grants also state that if you misuse you basically can kiss any future awarding money goodbye. some grants you spend your money then submit for reimbursemnet with all your documentation sounds like they just blindly gave the money to these nuckleheads to do whatever and submit documentation later.

did the acap governing board ever go look at the records?? and you had a husband and wife duo as the director and grant manager?? how clever so no one would question what was going on!! did they have a county vehicle so they carpool together?

I agree. The AG's office (or someone federal) should do a thorough investigation of everybody connected with the agency. The board too!

This is a clear case of the County pointing fingers at Dillard and Daniels instead of taking full responsibility for mismanaging the role of fiscal agent for the agency. It was the County's responsibility to insure that propers fiscal policies and procedures were in place and followed. It appears that the County is to blame and is not willing to accept responsibility.

Thank you so much for your article and for addressing the fact that there is more to this story than is being told. How can a Board provide oversight if they don't even meet for nearly a year? It is the Board's responsibility to review fiscal reports and to make sure they have a complete understanding about the financial soundness of the agency. In my experience, it is not the Executive Director who prepares payables. In fact is is the exact opposite. If the County was the fiscal agent for this agency, then they should be the ones being investigated for wrong doing. As fiscal agent, it is their responsibility to make sure that all checks, payments or transfers have the required documentation prior to preparation and submittal. If anything submitted to them was questionable, they should have investigated it at that time. I agree that the Alameda County District Attorney should not be the one to investigate this case as it is a clear case of conflict of interest. Perhaps they should be included in the investigation by the Attorney General.

More beurocratic bullshit. no one will ever be held accountable

What a shame to put these two innocent people through such a mess when clearly there is another side of the story. What about the county side?
I agree. The state attorney general should do a thorough investigation of everybody connected with the agency. The board too!

Nate Miley knew about the financial problems at ACAP for months because he was the one who caused them.

Ask him what happened to the second chance act grant that ACAP got with the Probation Department and performed five months of hard work on before the agency stopped operating. They never paid ACAP. He told Probabtion to give the money to another organization without even telling the ACAP board what he was doing! When you work, but you don't get paid, it causes money shortages.

He does not need to be re-elected. He's no good.

You are right about the county being the fiscal agent for ACAP, but they keep writing these articles as if it was Dillard who was in charge of the money. She wasn't. She didn't even have access to the county financial system.

Uh oh while County has oversight ... Dillard can't be let off the hook. You don't use government money to redo your own house. Innocent people don't go back into the office and destroy documents. These two deserve maximum time in jail. They're scum

Clearly, the governing Board of ACAP failed and or refused to carry out their charge of oversight of this JPA program. Failure to meet due to repeated quorum problems is inexcusable and shows a clear lack of interest and indifference to the population being served.

With respect to the funds to have been mishandled, ACAP was thought to have been partially funded by the cities and counties putting up their fair share of money in partnership with the federal goverment. If you do not meet, the cities and counties have no lawful appropriation. It seems they wanted the agency to die due to their own budget problems.

Seems that the US attorney should be involved especially if federal grant money is involved. Also, the County auditor controller office should be investgigated since it audits and approves expenditures.

What I don't understand is why Paul Daniels is included in any of this. He just made sure the organizations that ACAP funded turned in their paperwork on time and reported program statistics to the State. He did not pay them, the County did. And that was on just one grant out of all of the grants that ACAP had.

It seems that they included him because it sounds more sinister and takes the attention from the board and the Auditor/Controller.

Paul Daniels illegally broke into the office and destroyed records. Come on now ...leave it to their defense lawyers to make their defense. Neither Nanette nor Paul are moral characters. They saw the henhouse wasn't guarded very well and decided to eat all the hens.

So what is the deal with passing judgment on some you don't even know. I guess guilty until proven innocent is your stand. Is that how the criminal justice system is suppose to work or not work? I hope not. Where are your morals? I am sure the truth in this matter will prevail. However, will that be enough for some people who only look at things as black and white.

Weird. The comments above are almost exactly the same words Nate Miley used on ABC7 last night referring to Nadia Lockyer.

We should think that individuals who took money would profit from their criminal enterprise. If the evidence leads to unjust profits on extraordinary profits in a bank account that is evidence of guilt. But if there is no smoking gun, these people are only scapegoats for officials who did not do their jobs.

As executive director, nanette was mainly responsible for acap. She took credit when she grew the organization. But once it was certain that acap wasn't sustainable long-term, that's when she covered her gross mismanagement at best, and worst, covered her unethical doings. Was there suppose to be government oversight? Yes. Was the acap board lacking in their oversight? Yes, but when you an ED or CEO, you are responsible over that organization.

Did some of you folks work for this group? Or are some of you psychics? I have watched enough TV legal shows to know that all the people involved are all lawyer’ed up. Their attorneys tell their clients shut up because what you say could be used against you. There is a lot of speculation here and the conclusions drawn are fun to think about but are most likely wrong!

Keep up the good work Tavares... Investigative repotting is on short sale in local papers.

Thank you! If you notice a few less stories than usual in the next week or two, you'll know what I'm working on.

Hmmmm... I don't remember anything about destroyed documents. Sounds like spin.

http://www.eastbaycitizen.com/2011/02/intergovernment-agency-paid-disgraced.html ... documents missing after Mr. Daniels and Ms. Dillard's visit. Google is your friend. use it

Ha I hope this ain't Dillard and Daniels defense. It don't matter if its missing, destroyed or Nanette and Paul rolled up the documents like joints and smoked them. They intentionally tried to cover up their tracks. Can't wait til a jury hears the case. Slam dunks if there ever was one.

Why don't you try talking with some former ACAP employees to get their impression of Dillard and Daniels.

Someone's conclusions will be proven right.

Working on it. I don't think their hate for Dillard and Daniels has softened over the past year.

I know the ACAP folks really well. You need to try to talk to the employees who were there for more than five minutes. A lot of the folks who worked there were hired because of the stimulus funds and hadn't been there very long at all. The board did such a job on them by constantly trying to shift blame onto Nanette and Paul. To hear the board tell it, they were responsible for 9/11 and the Haiti earthquake. Talk to the folks who were there longer term. They know what you want to know.

I worked for Nanette and Paul and they were greedy, insensitive, and inhumane. They didn't care about the clients, or staff. If they did, they would have stopped draining the resources. They posed as sheeps but they were wolves and predators. I hope they serve long prison terms.

There was soooo much more going on at ACAP than what is being told here. SOOO MUCH MORE! I agree, ASK EMPLOYEES what it was like to work in a dump of an office. They froze while working, there wasn't a working heater, NO office supplies, disconnected phones, no working fax machine, NO ink, computers ALWAYS down. All she worried about was to get the "clients" in and get them qualified for her grants and it didn't matter how we did it. Nanette wanted to take the ACAP staff to a 2 day "retreat" in Monterey....pleaseeee, we couldn't afford simple office supplies, let alone go on a staff retreat. She also hired a "counselor" for the staff, which cost dollars for her services. This was suppose to help "staff" get along. All the while the employment services offices were doing without the simple necessities. So where did the money go?? Staff was afraid to stand up to her in fear of losing their jobs...She always reminded us she has a mother as a lawyer.. I hope the DA doesn't drop this case, she deserves to go to jail. Her husband is only guilty of not having a back bone....

Ask the employees that worked in the "employment services" departments of ACAP..... Such as, BETA, TRI-CETA and the office at the Southland mall.... you will be shocked on what you find out... Nanette needs to go to jail, PERIOD !!!

I wanted to look back here after all of the hullabaloo with the trial was over. I was a contractor with ACAP and got to know it very, very well. The first thing that I have to say is that Nanette did an excellent job running a very complex agency. All of the money that people are talking about was raised by her. The problems came because she was so successful at raising money. All of a sudden everyone wanted to get a piece of the action, but Nanette fought to keep other agency's from plundering ACAP and losing those jobs. This is when the political aspects of running the agency became incredibly difficult and she had no board to help her. As a result of their dereliction of duty, she ends of being convicted for something that was not a crime, City of Oakland ended up with ACAP's money AND ACAP's Second Chance Act reentry money, Nate Miley ends up on the "New" AC-OCAP board and diverts ACAP's money to his youth center in Ashland, which was clearly the point of this whole process. This is precisely why the most talented among my colleagues refuse to work with Alameda County because of the corruption.

The last few comments written above were obviously all from the same person. From what they wrote it is clear that they were a newer employee at ACAP, which is where the real tragedy was: There were long term employees who lost their jobs at ACAP just because of a couple of new employees who were working with Miley. That was really unfair to those who had been there for so long and helped to build an exciting organization.

Just so you know: No one in the county believes that Nanette or Paul committed any crime. We all saw it clearly for what it was: a political hit job to get a hold of ACAP's money.

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