Selma City Manager arrested for misappropriation of public money in Fowler, DA says

Corin Hoggard Image
Thursday, November 16, 2017
EMBED <>More Videos

Selma City Manager David Elias arrested at City Hall.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Prosecutors say David Elias illegally used more than $20,000 of taxpayer money for his own benefit.

The list of things he bought on Fowler's dime ranges from pizza and coffee to tickets for Disneyland, Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Paul McCartney.

A search warrant uncovered shows dozens of purchases deemed suspicious over two years when he worked as the Fowler City Manager.

Although he did not want to do an interview on camera, he did try to explain.

RELATED: Selma's new City Manager took job while under investigation for embezzlement in same job at Fowler

He called the investigation a witch hunt prompted by someone who wanted his job. He said most of the purchases were perfectly legal -- like buying gas instead of submitting an expense report for travel mileage.

He admitted one of the tire purchases was a mistake, but called it a simple oversight. And he said he would gladly repay the city for anything the taxpayers shouldn't have paid for.

"Payback at this point in time is going to determine what your sentence is. Payback right now is too late. This is something that should've been done a long time ago if it was done by mistake," said Tony Capozzi.

Capozzi says the city's written policies may excuse some of the credit card spending, even tickets to see the Fresno Grizzlies.

He had a monthly vehicle allowance, so investigators say Elias definitely should not have charged gas and tire expenses to the city.

Selma's City Council voted four to one to install Elias as city manager in April, even though they apparently knew something was strange about the way he left Fowler.

Louis Franco voted against him and told me he did it because his concerns about the fowler situation were not fully resolved.