A senior official at the Association of Bay Area Governments is under scrutiny for allegedly orchestrating the theft of $1.3 million in bond money that was meant for public parks and street improvements in the South of Market neighborhood.
The office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and law enforcement officials have zeroed in on Clarke Howatt, ABAG’s public finance director and a 20-year veteran of the agency, multiple sources confirm.
Howatt, who was scheduled to attend a conference in New York this week, has not returned phone calls or e-mails, said ABAG Executive Director Ezra Rapport. Howatt was slated to return to work Thursday, but did not.
“He has been out of communication,” Rapport said.
Howatt, who was scheduled to be in New York at a conference this week, has hired a defense attorney, Mary McNamara. She could not be reached for comment. His daughter, reached by telephone Friday, would not comment on Howatt or where he might be.
Paul said Howatt wrote in his resignation letter that “I will make every attempt to get the funds restored” and “I’ll try my best to get the money replaced as soon as I can.”