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The City Attorney’s Office is currently assessing whether or not hundreds of thousands of dollars paid out in clandestine bonuses to officials at the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. constitute a misuse of public funds, City Attorney Mike Aguirre just told me.

If the City Attorney’s Office finds that the bonuses were a misuse of public funds, violating city laws which govern public expenditure, the next stage would be to send the officials a letter demanding repayment of the money, Aguirre said.

SEDC President Carolyn Y. Smith and her top deputy, Dante Dayacap, were paid more than $350,000 over five years in bonuses and extra compensation under vaguely titled programs called “acknowledgment” and “cost of living.” A voiceofsandiego.org investigation uncovered the bonus program last week and led to calls today for Smith to resign.

If the officials ignored a request from the City Attorney’s Office, Aguirre said, he would consider whether or not to bring lawsuits against the officials to reclaim the misused funds.

WILL CARLESS

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