OAKLAND -- An Alameda County auditor-controller candidate accused of lying about living in the county to run for local office pleaded not guilty Tuesday to six felony counts of voter fraud and perjury.
Despite the charges filed Friday, Kathleen Knox, 49, remains in the race for the June 3 primary election, the ballots for which have already been printed.
"Ms. Knox is a valid candidate, and the only way that would change is if a court were to invalidate her candidacy," said Guy Ashley, spokesman for the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. "If she were elected, then later invalidated as an Alameda County candidate, the seat would be vacated. The Board of Supervisors would then be called on to decide whether to appoint someone to the position of auditor-controller and/or hold a special election."
Knox, free on $60,000 bail, did not comment after her arraignment but her attorney, Leon Mezzetti Jr., indicated that she still considers herself in the running. Mezzetti told reporters he is still investigating the allegations against Knox, but that his client could resolve the case before the election next month.
Knox was arrested last week at a house on Sheri Lane in Danville, where the Alameda County District Attorney's Office believes she permanently resides with her twin children, both graduating seniors at San Ramon Valley High School.
According to a probable cause declaration, she told investigators April 21 that she moved to the Danville residence in June 2010, but stopped living there within a few days of filing candidacy papers that listed a San Leandro address on March 12, the filing date for the primary.
She told authorities and this newspaper that she lives in a two-bedroom apartment at 1345 Clarke St. in San Leandro, above the Rose Gate residential care home, which she owns. However, another woman reached at the apartment says she's been the sole occupant of the unit for the past five years, the DA's Office said.
In addition to lying about her address to run for Alameda County office, Knox is further accused of living in Contra Costa County while voting in Alameda County's November 2012 election. Voter registration records show her as a registered voter in San Leandro since 2006. From 2007 to 2009, she served on the San Leandro Human Services Commission.
Knox is running against Alameda County's current chief deputy auditor Steve Manning for the countywide seat opened by the retirement of longtime auditor-controller/clerk-recorder Patrick O'Connell.
Alameda County's auditor leads a department responsible for all accounting, payroll, tax analysis, contract compliance, and auditing of budgeting and grants. The position also has a dual role of clerk-recorder, charged with the maintenance of vital records, maps and other public documents.
Knox returns to court May 15.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.