The former leader of a now-defunct Alameda County anti-poverty agency was convicted today of one felony count of preparing false documentary evidence but was acquitted of another count and jurors are still deliberating on four other counts against her. Nanette Dillard is the former executive director of the county’s Associated Community Action Program, which assisted low-income residents and parolees with housing, job training and education. The county dissolved the program in 2011 after allegations surfaced that Dillard and her husband Paul Daniels, who was the program’s grant manager, were misusing public funds.
The count on which Dillard was convicted stemmed from the prosecution’s allegation that she tried to justify getting an expensive massage at the Claremont Hotel, Club and Spa in Berkeley by creating an agenda after the fact that stated that the massage was part of a meeting to improve employee morale and that an employee also got a massage. Jurors, who began deliberating last Monday afternoon, acquitted Dillard of one count of misusing public funds but are still deliberating on two other counts of misusing public funds as well as conspiracy and grand theft charges. Daniels was acquitted today of one count of misusing public funds but jurors are still deliberating on another such count, as well as conspiracy and grand theft charges.
Prosecutors Greg Dolge and Matt Beltramo told jurors at the end of a four-month trial that Dillard and Daniels should be convicted of multiple felony counts for taking more than $400,000 from the program. But defense attorneys for Dillard and Daniels said they didn’t do anything wrong and alleged that Alameda County officials made them scapegoats after problems were discovered with the program’s finances. In his opening statement, Dillard’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau, made light of the allegation that Dillard misused county funds to get a massage, saying she was accused of “felony massage.” Meserau argued that the charges against Dillard were “flimsy and bogus,” and that there was insufficient evidence to support them. The Associated Community Action Program, founded in 1974, was a successor to an organization created in the 1960s as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.”
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