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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How Many OC Workers Does It Take To Deliver $100K To SF Homeless Hero?

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer delivering $100,000 reward to homeless San Franciscan Matthew Hays-Chapman. - TODD SPITZER'S NEWSLETTER
  • Todd Spitzer's newsletter
  • Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer delivering $100,000 reward to homeless San Franciscan Matthew Hays-Chapman.

It was the kind of feel-good story all too often lacking in the daily headlines: In March, homeless resident Matthew Hay-Chapman was promised $100,000 in reward money for helping San Francisco police arrest two of three Orange County escaped jail inmates at the McDonald’s in the Haight-Ashbury.

Thanks to his vigilance, Hay-Chapman would have the chance to start anew, maybe get off the street. Orange County was happy to dole out the award, since the jailbreak was such an embarrassment — no one wants escaped criminals roaming around.

In fact, the county was so keen on giving a check to Hay-Chapman in person in San Francisco that four employees made the journey north to do the honors.

However, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished: Now one Orange County supervisor is calling the trip “extreme overkill.”

“This is 2016, for goodness sake,” Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson told City News Service on Tuesday. “There are too many other alternatives [to conveying money].”

Those who made the trip were Supervisor Todd Spitzer and two Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators and a department spokesperson.

The issue arose after City News Service, a Southern California wire agency, made a yet-to-be-fulfilled public records request in March for travel expense reports.

City News Service reported that Spitzer’s travel bill included a $519.15 round-trip plane ticket, an Uber ride, breakfast, coffee, and orange juice from a McDonald’s (it’s unclear if it was the same Haight McDonald’s). The expenses for the other three are unknown since the records request has not been finalized.

The OC Sheriff’s Department defended sending three people on the trip since the check was so big (note: no matter the monetary value, all checks weigh the same amount), saying it might have been unsafe to send it through the mail.

Nelson countered that perhaps, using that 2016 technology, they could have wired the money to SF police, who could have then helped Chapman set up a bank account.

“The idea that we needed to have more than one guy to handle a check is ridiculous,” Nelson said.

Spitzer did not respond to City News Service’s requests for comment.
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