Mildred Bautista, who resigned two years ago as executive director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and was convicted of charges she had embezzled nearly $24,000 in commission funds, has been removed from a city arts commission in Fairfield, Calif., after press clippings caught up with her.
Bautista, 39, who conceded that she had "misused [District] funds and betrayed the public trust," pleaded guilty in June 1984 of felony theft in connection with the embezzlement charges.
A press clipping, apparently from The Washington Post, detailing her conviction was sent anonymously Monday to a Fairfield council member, who relayed it to the mayor's office.
Fairfield Mayor Gary Falati, who had appointed Bautista this month to a 14-member commission to oversee the planning of a $20 million performing arts theater, told The Fairfield Daily Republic that he removed Bautista from the panel the "first thing" yesterday morning.
However, the director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, where Bautista works as a $27,000-a-year arts program coordinator, described her as "an exemplary employe . . . one of the most capable arts resources professionals in the whole country."
"Millie has really done a very commendable job of rebuilding her life and her career," said Wendy Ceccherelli, director of the Sacramento arts commission. "You know, except for this one little incident, she's been very up front with everybody" about her past.
Bautista told the Daily Republic that she brings up the conviction "when it's appropriate."
Bautista diverted the funds by writing checks on commission accounts to nonexistent persons or to persons who were not owed money and whose endorsements she would then forge. She was given a suspended sentence and placed on three years' probation, and ordered to make restitution of $23,691.
Bautista's problems in Washington were not her first. In 1972, she was forced to resign as assistant to the Ann Arbor, Mich., superintendent of schools after it was discovered she had lied on her resume.
At that time, The Ann Arbor News reported that her resume falsely included a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California-Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa membership and candidacy for a PhD. Her application to the District included four semesters at U.C.-Davis and summer work at Berkeley and UCLA.
Although during the embezzlement investigation here, Bautista said she had warned commission Chairwoman Peggy Cooper Cafritz about the false resume, Bautista told Daily Republic reporter Randy Bechtel yesterday that "it's a long story . . . but I didn't falsify" the resume.