PACIFIC CITY, Ore. – A former high-ranking San Francisco Bay Area government official accused of embezzling more than $1 million recently purchased a home in this beach community.
Clarke Howatt, who until he resigned on Friday, Jan. 30, served for 20 years as public finance director for the Association of Bay Area Governments, in Oakland, allegedly concocted an elaborate scheme, posing as a developer, to pilfer $1.3 million from a San Francisco community fund, according toan article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Three days later, he closed on a $1.5 million, 5,100-square-foot five-bedroom, five-bathroom house operated as a vacation rental on Rip Tide Drive, in Pacific City, the Chronicle reported, noting he named the home Rincon Hill, which is a neighborhood in San Francisco. The home previously belonged to Duane Sorenson, founder of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
A Craigslist ad (deleted as of this morning) for the property indicated it rents for $799 per night and features an ocean view, hot tub and boat house.
Rip Tide Drive neighbor Garry Link said he never met Howatt, but was aware of him and knew he was from the Bay Area and involved in government there.
The Chronicle reports that authorities do not know where Howatt is, nor whether or not he will cooperate with investigators, who will likely include the FBI. He wrote in his resignation letter to ABAG that he will “make every attempt to get the funds restored.”