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Two former San Diego redevelopment officials charged in embezzling public funds

May 3, 2011 |  7:52 pm

Two former officials of a San Diego redevelopment agency were charged Tuesday with approving lavish bonuses and salary increases for themselves and other employees without approval from the agency's governing board.

Carolyn Smith, former president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., and Dante Dayacap, the former finance director, were charged with conspiracy, embezzlement of public funds and misappropriation of public funds.

Both left the agency in 2008 amid allegations of financial misconduct. Mayor Jerry Sanders has sought to clean house at the agency, with new board members and new executives.

Court documents indicate that Smith received bonuses of nearly $200,000 from 2006 to 2008 and Dayacap of nearly $170,000 in the same years. The total amount of bonuses, including theirs and those for other employees, was over $800,000, according to the charges filed by the state attorney general.

The agency, formed three decades ago, is tasked with boosting the economy of a southeastern section of the city. It has its own governing board but ultimately answers to the City Council and mayor.

Smith and Dayacap are also accused of having several strategies to hide from the governing board and City Hall the amount of bonuses and salary increases that they bestowed on themselves and others.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego