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Former County Officials Convicted of Felonies Avoid Prison Time

Nanette Dillard and Paul Daniels to pay restitution in addition to five years on probation.

Two former leaders of an Alameda County anti-poverty agency were sentenced today to probation instead of state prison for their felony convictions for grand theft by false pretenses and public officer crime.
 
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Allan Hymer said he decided not to send Nanette Dillard, the former executive director of the county's Associated Community Action Program, and Paul Daniels, her husband, who was its grants manager, to prison because he doesn't believe that obtained any personal financial gain by their actions.
 
Hymer placed Dillard and Daniels on five years' probation and ordered them to pay $308,000 restitution for improperly using county funds. Dillard and Daniels were both convicted of grand theft and public officer crime and Dillard was also convicted of one count of preparing false documentary evidence.
 
The Associated Community Action Program, also known as ACAP, was founded in 1974 and existed for 37 years before Alameda County officials decided to dissolve it in 2011 after Dillard and Daniels were suspected of misusing funds.
 
The program was a successor to a previous organization that had been started in the 1960s as part of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" and its purpose was to help low-income people and parolees with job training, housing and education.
 
Prosecutor Greg Dolge told jurors in his closing argument in the case that he believes that power, not the pursuit of personal wealth, is what drove Dillard and Daniels to misuse funds and that they used funds to help ACAP stay afloat after it ran into financial trouble. But defense attorneys for Dillard and Daniels said they didn't do anything wrong and alleged that Alameda County officials made them scapegoats after problems were discovered with the program's finances.
 
In their verdict in March, jurors acquitted Dillard and Daniels of conspiring to overstate the agency's fiscal holdings in order to get more than $200,000 from a federal Assets for Independence grant. But they convicted both former county officials of grand theft by false pretenses for improperly using other federal funds of misusing public funds by sending false and inaccurate letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
 
Jurors acquitted Dillard of misusing public money for personal profit for allegedly using agency workers to work on her house, billing the county for expensive dinners and getting a massage at the Claremont Hotel, Club and Spa in Berkeley. Jurors also acquitted Daniels of misusing public funds.
 
However, jurors convicted Dillard of a count of preparing false documentary evidence for creating an agenda after the fact, which said that the massage was part of a meeting to improve employee morale. Dillard's attorney, Thomas Mesereau, said today that he's "grateful" that Hymer didn't impose any prison time but he said he still plans to appeal her convictions because he doesn't think she did anything wrong.
 
Mesereau said he believes the lengthy trial of Dillard and Daniels "revealed flaws in all levels of government" because he believes Alameda County officials did a poor job of overseeing the program and federal officials failed to provide clear guidelines about how to account for the grant money.
 
Daniels' attorney, Karen McConville, said, "I'm glad that Mr. Daniels won't see the inside of a jail cell" but she also plans to file an appeal. The defense attorneys for Dillard and Daniels said the two former county officials will do their best to pay the restitution fine but currently their resources are drained because they haven't worked since they lost their jobs and they've been busy fighting the charges against them.
 
Hymer said he would shorten the probation term for Dillard and Daniels to three years if they're able to pay the restitution fine in that time period.

—By Bay City News

Becky May 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM
An/on, Read Bob Hansen's post. They got the loan to ensure that their high salaries would still be paid. It's a pretty bad idea to have a married couple running this agency. Most places have rules against that.
Cecile Costa May 27, 2014 at 04:26 PM
So disappointed by the sentencing. Another non - profit destroyed, clients abandoned and employees scrambling. If I recall, big taxpayer bucks were paid by the cities represented on the board of directors, including Alameda, to cover outstanding debts and hire a consultant to tie up all those nasty loose ends. The board, including our Mr. Arnerich, failed to provide any meaningful oversight. They bear responsibility for this fiasco, along with Dillard and Daniels. I look forward to seeing another update when the cashiers check is delivered to city hall...Our share of the restitution.
Phyllis Nelson May 30, 2014 at 07:57 PM
It was clear from the beginning that this was nothing but a political hit taken out on these folks because the county and the agency's board had not done their duties. No board meetings for a year? Come on. That lack of oversight left the agency ripe for the county to plunder. Dillard was the ED of a government agency. That means that she did not control the money, the county did. From what I read of the trial, Dillard noticed that $300,000 in federal funds was missing from the agency's account at the county and told a county supervisor, Nate Miley, about it hoping he could help her get it back. 2 weeks later she was booted out. That's clearly whistleblower retaliation. By charging her with a crime...any crime and by closing the agency down quickly, they could keep a state investigation at bay and shift the blame for everything to Dillard. Typical political hit. The Alameda County Auditor-Controller is the person who was in charge of the agency's money. Anything goes wrong with the money you are supposed to look at him, not the poor staff-schmo who had no protection against a shark tank full of politicians. Note, the JUDGE said that they did not take money. That's because they couldn't. I want to know where the $300,000 went. That's the real question now that we know that these folks did not steal any money.
An\on May 30, 2014 at 08:32 PM
Thanks, Phyllis for being so clear-eyed. I thought that's what I read too. Dare I write there are just too many people to rush to judgment? Oh damn. Shouldn't have written that. I'll bring a flurry of people defending their responses. Wait, wait, don't do it. I'm not interested.
Union City Resident June 05, 2014 at 05:43 AM
When I was on the City Council, I was the city rep to ACAP and I am shocked that someone would stoop so low to take money from desperate people. And no jail time is also surprising since it was a felony. Are they lucky or what?

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