Past administrators await trial

(L-R) Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities James Blomquist, Former Chancellor Phillip Day Jr. and Associate Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Stephen Herman all face charges for the misappropriation of City College funds. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY CURRENTS

By Matthew Gomez
The Guardsman

The preliminary hearing of former City College Chancellor Phillip Day Jr. and former Associate Vice Chancellors James Blomquist and Stephen Herman is set for March 9.

Current state Attorney General Kamala Harris charged the former City College administrators in 2009 with allegedly making illegal campaign contributions and the misuse of public funds. At the time, Harris was district attorney of San Francisco.

The issue arose after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Day, Blomquist and Herman had been diverting public funds to campaigns that supported City College ballot measures.

“I really hope that these charges are cleared,” said Helen Dilworth, a City College music instructor who helped distribute a letter of support for the administrators from City College teachers and staff. “The error was corrected as soon as it was pointed out.”

The letter stated that the funds were repaid and the administrators saw no personal benefit or gains.

For their actions, Day and Herman face a maximum of nine years and Blomquist a maximum of three years in prison.

The hearing was initially set for Feb. 15, but prosecutor Evan Ackiron was dealing with another case. It was rescheduled to March 9 and will be held at the San Francisco Hall of Justice at 2:00 p.m.

“There hasn’t been a ton of movement,” said Erica Derryck, a spokeswoman for current San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.

At the preliminary hearing, any necessary motions will be filed and questions about the charges will be addressed. The judge will also determine admissible evidence, and decide if any matters can be dropped, Derryck said.

In the City College Board of Trustees self-evaluation, an anonymous comment stated that “issues of mistrust” arose between the board and the college community after the three administrators were charged.

Current board President John Rizzo was a member of the board when the allegations were brought up.

“We did what was proper. We conducted an independent investigation,” Rizzo said. “That’s completely required. We have an accountability to the college.”

He said the board is in no way affiliated with the case, and that City College trustees are concerned with more pressing matters.

“That’s in the past,” Rizzo said. “We no longer have anything to do with it.”


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