It's too early to discuss whether criminal charges could be filed against a former Novato Fire District chief who is accused of spending hundreds of thousands of district dollars without authorization.
That was the conclusion made by Farhad Mansourian, the district's president of the board of directors, as well as Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian.
Marc Revere, who abruptly retired in November less than four months after receiving a national Chief of the Year award, was found to have misused his credit card privileges upon review of an internal investigation, according to a report in the Marin Independent Journal. The investigation was spurred on by a lawsuit filed by a former employee, Battalion Chief Michael Hughes, that alleged misconduct on the part of Revere and former Deputy Chief Eric Nickel.
Mansourian said he cannot comment on the district's next moves in the Revere case because the board is awaiting more results from the investigation.
"We are pursuing all the facts and have asked for clarification and receipts," he said. "Without those documents, I can't say anything about what the board would decide to do."
The Marin IJ reported that Revere authorized payments of $488,000 for a computer project without opening up the bidding process or obtaining board approval for the expense. That was among the allegations revealed to the IJ after it getting documents through a Public Records Act request.
Berberian said the district would have the right to pursue a criminal case if more facts surface about wrongdoing.
"But theoretically it could be more about the use of funds for what he believed was authorized within his designated powers as chief, so it's a difficult issue," Berberian said. "When you get into criminal liability, you have to show criminal intent. If there was a gray area within the scope of his duties, then maybe he just did something his bosses didn't want him to do but it's not a crime. Without looking at the reports, I can only say that it's fact-specific and the facts need to be presented."
If Revere crossed a legal line and the district decides to pursue a criminal case, a charge of misuse of public funds — a felony — would be among the possibilities, Berberian said.
Revere has not answered calls from the Marin IJ or Patch.