Friday, October 29, 2010

Liz Figueroa Investigation Goes to Jerry Brown’s Office

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 11:32 AM

The investigation into whether ex-state Senator Liz Figueroa lied about her official place of residence has been sent to the California Attorney General’s Office for a review of possible criminal charges. Figueroa, who is running for a spot on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, was originally investigated by the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office. That office then forwarded its findings to the office of Attorney General Jerry Brown for final determination.

Attorney General spokesman Jim Finefrock said his office had not yet “reached any conclusions” about the Figueroa investigation. He also said there was no timetable for doing so. Figueroa is squaring off against Nadia Lockyer, wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, on November 2.

Steve Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, said his office did not make any specific recommendations to the attorney general as to whether Figueroa should be charged with criminal wrongdoing. The San Mateo County DA investigated the case at the request of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. O’Malley had transferred the case to San Mateo to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest. Nadia Lockyer works for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and O’Malley has endorsed her candidacy.

The investigation into Figueroa stems from a complaint by someone who read an Express story earlier this year about the ex-senator. She claimed to live in Alameda County from 2006 to late 2009 when she actually lived in San Mateo County. 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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