A former City College of San Francisco chancellor stepped down this week as head of a Washington, D.C., education lobbying group after being charged with misusing public funds at the school, and two school administrators also charged in the case have been placed on paid leave.
Philip Day Jr., who was chancellor of City College from 1998 to 2008, faces eight felony counts and one misdemeanor in connection with the alleged misuse of nearly $150,000 of school money.
On Wednesday, following the announcement of the criminal charges by San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, Day went on a voluntary unpaid leave of absence from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, where he was president and CEO.
“Basically, he didn’t want to distract from the work of the association, while he dealt with this,” the association’s spokesman Haley Chitty said today.
The group is expected to name an interim head shortly, Chitty said.
Prosecutors say Day diverted money toward political campaigns for local and state education bond measures to benefit community colleges in 2001, 2005 and 2006, and used $45,000 for a secret fund that paid for parking tickets, alcohol at functions, and a membership at an exclusive business club in San Francisco.
The charges against Day include conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds, concealing an account of public money, grand theft, use of college funds to support a political campaign, and making a political contribution in the name of another.
Harris said he could face up to nine years in state prison and fines of up to $300,000 if convicted of all counts.
Day’s attorney Cristina Arguedas is out of the country, according to her office, and has been unable to be reached for comment.
Two associate vice chancellors at City College, Stephen Herman and James Blomquist, are also charged in the case. Herman faces seven felonies and a misdemeanor, and Blomquist one felony and one misdemeanor.
City College spokesman Larry Kamer said today that current Chancellor Don Griffin took action on Thursday against Herman and Blomquist.
“Yesterday Chancellor Griffin placed the two gentlemen on administrative leave with pay, and that leave will continue while he and the attorneys and other members of the college administration analyze the charges brought against Mr. Herman and Mr. Blomquist,” said Kamer.
Herman’s attorney Michael Sweet has said his client is innocent, and Blomquist’s attorney Jim Collins said he didn’t believe Blomquist did anything “intentionally wrong.”
All three men have until Tuesday to surrender to authorities, according to Harris.