Monday, October 11, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Liz Figueroa Investigated for Possible Criminal Wrongdoing

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Liz Figueroa, who is running for a seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, is being investigated for possible criminal wrongdoing by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, the Express has learned. The investigation stems from a complaint filed after this newspaper reported that Figueroa actually lived in San Mateo County but had claimed on numerous legal records — including her official voter registration — that her primary residence from 2006 to late 2009 was as an uninhabitable shack in Sunol.

The complaint against Figueroa was filed originally with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, but DA Nancy O’Malley decided to ask the San Mateo DA to investigate the matter because of potential perceptions of conflict of interest, said Kevin Dunleavy, Alameda County’s chief assistant district attorney. Figueroa’s opponent in the November election, Nadia Lockyer, works for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and O’Malley has endorsed her.

Steve Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, said his office’s investigation of Figueroa should wrap up sometime this week. His office will then forward its findings and recommendations back to Alameda County, and it will be up to O’Malley’s office to decide whether to send the case to the California Attorney General’s Office. Possible charges could include voter fraud and perjury, records indicate.

As the Express reported in June, Figueroa admitted in an interview that she never lived in a broken down shack on Kilkare Road in the backwoods of Sunol even though she listed it as her “primary residence” on her voter registration, property tax forms, and her official candidacy papers for her supervisor’s campaign. Under state and local laws, “primary residence,” means the place where you live. Figueroa maintained she was unaware of that fact, even though the form she signed under penalty of perjury while registering to vote, stated: “Address: Where You Live.”

Figueroa, who was a California legislator from 1994 to 2006, also admitted in June that during the time she said on legal records that she lived in the Sunol shack, she actually lived in a cabin on a private beach in Half Moon Bay and spent time at her mother’s house in San Mateo. She said she occasionally spent time in Sunol with friends, but that her belongings were in San Mateo County. Under state law, a person’s home is typically defined as where she keeps most of her things. Records also indicate that Figueroa voted illegally in Alameda County when she really was living across the bay.

Figueroa said she moved permanently to a rented home in Sunol in December 2009. She and Lockyer are vying to replace Supervisor Gail Steele, who is retiring. The seat represents parts of central and southeastern Alameda County.

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