District attorney works to keep $5.4M in border-related grants

Although the U.S. Department of Justice has asked San Francisco to repay $5.4 million in grant money intended for border-related crimes, District Attorney Kamala Harris said her office is working to prove that The City’s cases were eligible for the federal funds.

“No penalties have been discussed,” Harris said. “It’s just a matter of working out which cases were in and which cases were not and making sure the reimbursement fits exactly what should the definition of reimbursable.”

Under the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative, federal tax dollars are given to local jurisdictions to pay the costs incurred when a federal case is referred to the district attorney’s office.

According to the audit by the U.S. Office of Inspector General, The City couldn’t provide auditors with a list of “actual cases” thatqualified for the funding, which has prompted Department of Justice authorities to ask for their money back.

Harris told The Examiner on Monday that her office was going to have to do a lot of research to find out which cases between 2004 and 2006 were eligible for the $5.41 million requested through grant proposals.

“I’m in the process of doing a formal review of how it is and why it is we came about presenting certain cases as eligible for reimbursement,” Harris said.

The City is taking a few weeks to look into “what appears on its face to be some irregularities” before deciding the next course of action, according to Kevin Ryan, who currently heads the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

bbegin@examiner.com

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