Chris Kavanagh announces resignation


In a letter sent to the Rent Stabilization Board on Monday, Kavanagh, 49, said he is resigning retroactive to Feb. 1.

Kavanagh had taken a three-month leave of absence from his post in October, shortly after criminal charges were filed against him, and he decided it would be better to resign rather than seek another three-month leave, his attorney, James Giller, said today.

The criminal charges against Kavanagh are still pending and he's due back in Alameda County Superior Court on Feb. 22 for a preliminary hearing, Giller said.

However, Giller said he's been in discussions with prosecutor Trevor White about a possible plea bargain in the case.

In September, Kavanagh was charged with three counts of voter fraud, one count of perjury and one count of grand theft for accepting a monthly stipend and health insurance benefits while serving on the rent board.

In October, prosecutors added an additional count of voter fraud, alleging Kavanagh cast a ballot in the June 6, 2006, Berkeley election even though they believe he was actually living in Oakland.

All the counts stem from allegations his real home is in Oakland even though he insisted that he's a Berkeley resident.

In his resignation letter, Kavanagh acknowledged he didn't "technically comply" with Berkeley's residency requirements.

Kavanagh said he rented units both in Oakland and Berkeley and that in part of 2006 and 2007 he had to "involuntarily vacate my Berkeley unit" and therefore didn't meet the Berkeley requirements.

Kavanagh was first elected to the rent board in 2002 and was re-elected to a second four-year term in November of 2006. His term wouldn't expire until November 2010.

The Rent Stabilization Board is expected to appoint a replacement to fill Kavanagh's seat through the November election, at which time there will be five open slots on the board.

The fifth-highest vote-getter would complete the remainder of Kavanagh's term.

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