- PHOTO COURTESY OF SLOCOPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- NO CONTEST : Former chairman of the San Luis Obispo Public Access television board of directors Anthony Pope was arrested in early April for using city funds for personal items.
Anthony Pope, former head of San Luis Obispo County Public Access television, pleaded no contest to embezzling funds from the nonprofit organization on April 11.
Pope was arrested April 6 on suspicion of skimming $2,525.21 from the station. As of press time, he remained in SLO County Jail on $35,000 bail.
According to Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran, in July 2010, Pope made a proposal to the city of San Luis Obispo to secure funding for electronic equipment for the station. In August, that proposal was approved, and Pope was given a check for the equipment, which he initially bought.
“The items were purchased, but they never made it to public access television,” Gran said.
Pope then reportedly returned the items and used the funds to make a number of personal purchases, including laptop computers.
Pope was elected chairman of the board in March 2010, and was removed from his position in August. His removal came before the city noticed the missing funds, said new public access TV Chairman Jose Lemus.
“His method for dealing with members was very abrasive. He basically pissed a lot of people off and burned a lot of bridges,” Lemus said. “We’re still trying to put out some of the fires he created.”
Lemus said that as a result of Pope’s tenure as chairman, the station’s relationship with Charter Communications iced over, and the group lost access to its studio.
“So the city has all this expensive equipment—cameras, microphones—and it’s sitting in a closet somewhere,” Lemus said.
Funds for piblis access TV programming come from the City of San Luis Obispo and Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) funds from Charter Communications.
Linden Mackaoui, Pope’s public defender, could not be reached by press time.
Pope’s sentencing is set for May 9. Under the conditions of his plea, he faces up to a year in jail, restitution, and three years of formal probation.