August 2 – Santa Barbara
After three years in office as District Manager of Santa Barbara County Mosquito and Vector Management, Brian Passaro was arrested this week pursuant to a June 24th Declaration in Support of Arrest Warrant filed by Deputy District Attorney Norma Hansen. The warrant declaration lays out a series of acts by Passaro supporting charges of PC424, Misappropriation of Public Funds.
According to Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota, in his statement to the media, the total amount of money involved in the case is currently unknown, but it’s “believed to approach $10,000, which constitutes a felony offense calling for four years jail time.”
Passaro, employed as manager of the independent county office with an annual budget of nearly $1,000,000 since October 2008, was salaried at $95,000 but is accused of using a county-issued credit card for “potentially excessive and non-business related personal expenses,” Cota said. Those personal expenses, detailed in Hansen’s Arrest Warrant declaration, enumerated such expenditures as alcohol, personal clothing, entertainment costs, toys, and hotel movies while traveling. Passaro, according to Cota, acted with somewhat reckless abandon, reporting fuel purchases for county vehicles in amounts that exceeded the gas tank capacity of those vehicles, as well as reporting meals with county officers which in fact never took place. During his tenure in the Santa Barbara County Mosquito and Vector Management office, credit card expenses for Passaro’s managerial role escalated from $2000 to nearly $30,000 per year.
When the initial investigation into Passaro’s expense records—and the lack thereof—was reported in October 2011, Passaro promptly resigned his office, and has been residing in Santa Rosa since that time. He posted bond on $25,000 bail and now awaits arraignment in Santa Barbara Superior Court scheduled for August 10, 2012.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking; Santa Barbara County Vector Control
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