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Former Redevelopment Execs Plead Guilty to Embezzlement

The former top two officials at the city of San Diego’s
Southeastern Economic Development Corp. admit to embezzling public
funds.

Two former top San Diego redevelopment officials each pleaded guilty today to one count of embezzling public funds, admitting to a charge stemming from a clandestine bonus scheme that rocked the agency three years ago.

Former long-time President Carolyn Y. Smith and former Finance Director Dante Dayacap entered the pleas this afternoon in Superior Court. The remaining four counts against them were dismissed. They will be sentenced Jan. 20.

Prosecutors from the State Attorney General’s office will be asking for one year of jail time for both defendants and repayment of around $700,000 in total. As part of the deal, Smith and Dayacap received five years probation and agreed not to hold public office.

The criminal charges came about as a result of a voiceofsandiego.org investigation that found that Smith, the daughter of the prominent Rev. George Walker Smith, paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in hidden bonuses to herself and staff without knowledge of her board or the San Diego City Council.

She was eventually forced out as part of a sweeping reform at the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., the entity responsible for revitalizing some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Prosecutors brought criminal charges against Smith and Dayacap in May.

You can reach us at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org. Follow us on Twitter:

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