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I took my first-ever trip to Riverside on Friday morning to a national archive holding old bankruptcy cases filed by former Southeastern Economic Development Corp. Finance Director Dante Dayacap.

Dayacap, instrumental in last year’s $1 million bonus scandal at SEDC, has filed for bankruptcy three times in the past 22 years. The first filing was in 1987 before SEDC hired Dayacap in 1991. The second was in 1993, five years before he started signing as the redevelopment organization’s finance director. His most recent bankruptcy was discharged earlier this month. Dayacap left SEDC last November.

Brian Trotier, who took over as SEDC’s interim head after the ousting of longtime President Carolyn Y. Smith, said he didn’t know if SEDC had been aware of Dayacap’s bankruptcies or had checked his background prior to his hiring or promotion. He said he’s now performing credit checks prior to hiring finance department employees.

Dayacap’s court files are silent on the question of potential SEDC background checks. But they did reveal that SEDC knew about Dayacap’s 1993 bankruptcy.

In 1997, the year before Dayacap began signing as SEDC’s finance director, a federal court judge ordered SEDC to garnish Dayacap’s wages for $200 a month and pay that sum to the bankruptcy trustee handling Dayacap’s case.

Receipts in the file show that SEDC paid the $200 a month for nearly two years. Dayacap paid off the remaining balance in his Chapter 13 bankruptcy case by taking out a loan from his SEDC retirement plan.

In both of Dayacap’s prior bankruptcy cases, creditors appeared primarily to be mortgage holders on Dayacap’s home.

— LIAM DILLON

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