Silva’s preposterous motion

Attorneys N. Allen Sawyer, left, and Mark Reichel with ex-mayor Anthony Silva.

In an impressive display of lawyerly cynicism, former Mayor Anthony Silva’s attorneys actually argued in court yesterday that Silva should be allowed to return to work at the nonprofit from which he allegedly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s for the poor, needy kids, you see.

“Mr. Silva was the lifeline of that club,” said attorney N. Allen Sawyer. “He’s the reason that it’s around. It’s the reason that it’s able to provide services. Him being estranged from the club is terrible for that community.”

“The goal is to save the Kids Club,” added attorney Mark Reichel. “Anthony Silva can do that.”

What big hearts these guys have.

Mind, their statements are not entirely false. As Sawyer said, Silva is the reason the Kid’s Club is around — because Silva’s flagrant mismanagement of the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton and his refusal to allow an audit caused the national organization to yank the club’s charter. Leaving Silva and his associates in charge of a rump orgnization renamed Kids Club.

Silva is innocent until proven guilty. But let’s assume for arument’s sake that the prosecutors are right, and Silva plundered that club’s treasury for his personal use. How utterly irresponsible it would be to let him near the club again.

Now I can just hear his attorneys arguing, yes, but he could be kept away fromt he purse strings. Could he? Would he obey restrictions? Would his associates? Silva packed the Kids Club board with friends. Unindicted co-conspiritors, some suspect. Time will tell about that.

And then there is Silva’s desire perhaps to work as a lifegard or swim coach at the club. Given the sleazoid charges Silva faces in Amador County, drunken strip poker with teens, giving him any responsibility for youth is wildly inappropriate.

Judge Brett Morgan sent a jumbotron-sized signal when he declined to loosen the restrictions on Silva, who is out of jail on $350,000 bail. Morgan said he’d read “60 percent” of the transcript of grand jury proceedings that led to Silva’s indictment, and “That, in and of itself, would cause me to conclude conditions of his bail release should not change.”

If the Kids Club falls apart without Silva it will be because A). Silva and his associates are as incompetent at managing the club as he was as Mayor; B). Silva got himself embrangled in legal troubles; C). Silva failed to properly institutionalize the club with a board staffed with competent successors.

Silva’s attorneys are just doing their job. But those who truly care about disadvantaged kids should not exploit them to defend a character like Silva. They should negotiate with the national Boys & Girls club to renew the Stockton charter, reconstituting the club with a competent, ethical board and CEO.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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