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Monday, Oct 31, 2011 - Last Blog on Earth | News

How the District Attorney spent $290,000 in crime money

Bonus: Typo-filled spreadsheet also cost taxpayers an additional $320

By Dave Maass
DA-Bonnie-Dumanis Bonnie Dumanis
UPDATE: It turns out the numbers weren't only sloppy, they were woefully inaccurate.

The document is a simple, two-page spreadsheet outlining how District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis spent more than $293,000 in asset-forfeiture funds since 2009.

It’s the sort of basic accounting record you'd expect to be readily available from a public office. But, no—in the email response to CityBeat’s public-records request, Dumanis’ office said that compiling the document took roughly four-and-a-half hours of staff time. That time, apparently, didn’t include basic proofreading, since words like "rescue," "investigators" and "association" were misspelled throughout the document.

Various law-enforcement agencies get a share of state and federal money that has been seized from criminals, which the agencies can use for "crime prevention and other programs." We decided to take a closer look at Dumanis' spending after receiving a press release that her office was providing $50,000 in asset-forfeiture funding for the 25th annual "Light the Night Against Crime" 5k run/walk. The race raises money to pay rewards to anonymous tipsters who call the San Diego Crime Stoppers hotline. 

According to the typo-filled spreadsheet, in 2009, Dumanis gave $53,000—18 percent of the money her office spent—to the California District Attorneys Association. She was president of the organization at the time. That same year, another $2,500 went to the California District Attorney Investigator's Association, an organization that recently endorsed Dumanis' bid for mayor of San Diego. She also spent $415.82 to send Lincoln High School students to Six Flags, $17,250 to produce a short film and $60,000 to install cameras along the border. In most cases, the DA's office did not provide the purpose of the grants, only the recipients.

The entire list of grants is below. You should read it, since you paid the cost of producing the document. 

In an email to CityBeat, Deputy District Attorney Valerie Ryan writes, “Approximately 4 1/2 hours of various D.A. employees’ time was spent on this request, costing the San Diego County taxpayers $322.09.” 

Here's the detailed breakdown:

Deputy District Attorney III, 0.75 hrs, $81.19 loaded hourly rate

Principal Admin Analyst, 3 hrs, $61.17 loaded hourly rate

District Attorney Legal Operations Admin, 0.25 hrs, $85.19 loaded hourly rate

Chief District Attorney Admin Officer, 0.25 hrs, $111.75 loaded hourly rate

District Attorney Public Affairs Officer, 0.25 hrs, $113.83 loaded hourly rate

With all due respect, it seems to us like someone’s padding the bill. Five different people worked on this document, some earning more than a hundred bucks an hour, and not one noticed that "rescue" was spelled "resuce" five times on the first page? 


 
 
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