Police Records Show Alameda’s Mayor Pocketed Checks Meant for the League of California Cities. She Still Hasn't Paid The Money Back.
The City of Alameda has yet to recoup $100 in checks that were made out to the League of California Cities but deposited into the personal bank account of Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer. Spencer has denied taking the funds, which were supposed to cover League dinners that Spencer attended, but a review of police files by the East Bay Express shows otherwise.
The Express has obtained copies of the deposited checks and documents that state that Bank of America processed the checks through the Spencers' bank account. The Expressalso obtained copies of still photos of Joel Spencer depositing what Alameda city officials said was one of the checks at the Park Street ATM.
Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri declined to comment for this report. But in a Jan. 24 email that Rolleri wrote to other city officials, he said of the mayor: "Wow, she's something else. I find it more than a little ironic that she loves to scold people about 'the people's money' in open [c]ouncil meetings, but cannot see the ethical issue of her husband depositing a [c]ity of Alameda check at her bank's ATM."
The League contacted the finance department about the missing checks a year ago and was subsequently reimbursed by the city. Attempts to get the money from Spencer have been unsuccessful.
Spencer insists she never cashed the money despite bank records and security footage of her husband making one of the deposits at a Bank of America branch. The bank processed the checks despite the fact that they were made out to the League and unendorsed.
The entire ordeal has raised questions about the mayor’s candidness and ability to handle funds at City Hall. Alameda has previously discussed the possibility of an investigation.
"Even if she didn't get the money, as she states, that's not our problem and something she should take up with her bank. We have proof that her husband deposited a city check that supposed to go to the League," then-Assistant City Manager Liz Warmerdam wrote in an email to Finance Manager Edwin Gato. "As a result of her actions, the city had to pay twice. It is her responsibility to make it right, not ours."
Sure, all of this is over a mere $100. But Spencer says that’s a significant chunk of dough as far as she's concerned.
"We don't make a lot of money. One hundred dollars is a lot of money,” Spencer told reporters. According to the East Bay Express, she later claimed it was “no big deal.”
Spencer is up for re-election this fall.