A former City College of San Francisco chancellor was sentenced today to five years of probation after pleading guilty in September to misusing public funds from the school.
Philip Day, 65, pleaded guilty on Sept. 19 to three felony charges in connection with the use of nearly $100,000 in City College money to fund political campaign committees supporting the passage of bond measures to finance upgrades at the school.
The misuse of the funds occurred between 1999 and 2006, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said. The money was used for election campaigns in 2001, 2005 and 2006.
Stephen Herman, 63, a former associate vice chancellor at City College, also pleaded guilty in September and received a similar five-year probation sentence today.
“It is good that Mr. Day and Mr. Herman accepted responsibility for their illegal use of City College funds to support a ballot measure,” Stillman said.
However, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ming-Mei Lee did not order the defendants to pay any restitution to the school, noting that the measures that the funds were used to support all passed, providing the school with additional resources well beyond the roughly $95,000 involved in the case.
“No money was used for direct personal benefit,” Lee said. “The beneficiary was the institution for which they worked.”
Lee also reduced the felony charges to misdemeanors as part of the plea agreement after both Day and Herman paid off all of their fees and fines in the case.
She said no further punitive action was necessary since neither Day nor Herman had prior contacts with the criminal justice system.
Day’s attorney, Cristina Arguedas, said outside of court that she was pleased with the judge’s sentence.
“We’re grateful and appreciative that it was reduced to a misdemeanor,” Arguedas said.
“The case should never have been charged criminally,” she said, adding that the lack of restitution “reflects (Day’s) lifetime of good works.”
A third defendant, James Blomquist, 64, also a former associate vice chancellor at City College, has charges pending in the case.
Blomquist is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 22 for a preliminary hearing on two felony counts of using public funds to support a political campaign, Stillman said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News