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Alan Nakanishi filed a $12,000 accident claim with state

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Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:40 am, Fri Apr 15, 2011.

California taxpayers paid more than $12,000 due to an accident Alan Nakanishi was in when he served in the Assembly, according to the California Department of General Services' department spokesman Eric Lamoureux.

Additionally, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, whose district includes Galt and Thornton, filed a $2,008 claim on Sept. 15, 2010 after her state-issued car was hit while parked, Lamoureux said.

Taxpayers paid more than three-quarters of a million dollars for 122 insurance claims filed by legislators in from 2007 to 2010.

The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday that the California Citizens Compensation Commission voted to eliminate state-issued cars for legislators, effective the first week of December. Instead, legislators will get a $300 monthly car allowance to drive their own vehicles, The Bee reported.

Nakanishi's accident took place in 2007 on Ham Lane near the former Lakewood Drugs, Lamoureux and Nakanishi said.

Nakanishi, who termed out of the Assembly in 2008 and is now a Lodi councilman, said in a telephone interview that he was headed to his Lodi office on West Pine Street — while on official state business — when an oncoming car that was going too fast hit his vehicle on the right side.

Nakanishi made a left turn in front of the oncoming car. An investigation by the Assembly Rules Committee determined that Nakanishi made an unsafe turn.

"I didn't think I was at fault," Nakanishi said.

Nevertheless, taxpayers footed the bill for $12,461.

Legislators involved in an accident, or if their state-approved car is vandalized, must file a claim with the Rules Committee of the Assembly or State Senate — whichever house the legislator happens to serve, Lamoureux said.

The Rules Committee staff investigates the claim, and if it appears to be valid, it authorizes the vehicle to be sent to an auto repair or body shop, usually in the legislator's district. Then it's forwarded to the Department of General Services for payment through the state's self-insurance fund unless the other party is at fault. Then money is collected from the other driver's insurance company, Lamoureux said.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:26 am on Sat, Apr 16, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Please... this man was in an accident... key word is "accident"... accidents are covered by insurance no matter whose fault. To say he is an unsafe driver because he was at fault for one accident is silly... If he casued many accidents, you might have a point... I love the idea of taking responsibility for mistakes each person makes... but to say this man should have been responsible for the bill means we should change the insurance law for all... so if anyone is at fault for causing an accident, that no insurance will pay... then I would agree.

  • roy bitz posted at 6:21 am on Sat, Apr 16, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 489

    I think Dr. Nakinishi should have acknowledged the committee's finding and accept responsibility for causing the accident. This is not so much about the money---it's more about doing the right thing.

  • Bob Smith posted at 9:32 pm on Fri, Apr 15, 2011.

    Bob Smith Posts: 128

    You guys are missing a bigger point here. He misjudged the speed of an oncoming vehicle and made a left turn in front of it. He caused the accident by not driving safely. Doesn't matter one whit whether or not he was on official business or not. He's an unsafe driver.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 10:27 am on Fri, Apr 15, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2255

    The article states that Nakanishi “…was headed to his Lodi office on West Pine Street — while on official state business.” There are two facts missing that might clear things up a tad: was this his privately-owned vehicle and if it was, had he already been to his office that day and was actually on “official state business” when the accident occurred?

    I would think that Nakanishi did not have a state-owned vehicle due to his close proximity to Sacramento. So if he was on his way to work first thing in the morning without making any stops on official business along the way prior to the accident, the argument could be made that his private auto insurance should have shouldered the responsibility for paying the bill. Otherwise, I think it’s fine that the state’s self-insurance program paid for the repairs. After all, isn’t this why that insurance is in place for these government employees? Or are there those who believe he should have paid for it out of his personal funds?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:50 am on Fri, Apr 15, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mr Dawes... please contact my insurance company on my behalf.... They tell me when I have an employee or myself driving from point "A" to point "B" (office location) during business hours, that if during that time, I get in an accident that results in bodily injury, that those medical bills would have to be submitted to the workers compensation carrier and not the health plan... and claims like his would be the responsibility of the employer as well...why?... its considered work related, in or out of office. The health plan does not cover injuries sustained during the time you spend performing your work duties, including traveling to and from destinations... If you are right, that would be great news to me as that would relieve me of liability i thought I had...

  • John Randall posted at 8:39 am on Fri, Apr 15, 2011.

    John Randall Posts: 21

    I wish these guys would get to work and get Highway 12 upgraded to a divided 4-lane
    between Interstate 5 & Interstate 80. If they accomplished that, we could name it after them!

  • William Dawes posted at 6:37 am on Fri, Apr 15, 2011.

    William Dawes Posts: 113

    Ge didn't think it was his fault? You are not on your official business until you actually reach your official office. Until then you are officially under your own capacity/stupidity.

    Where is the government agency that gets that money back to state? Alan should not have received anything but a big fat bill!



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