Retiring Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley tried to direct $20 million out incoming DA Pamela Price’s budget and into a set of her own pet nonprofits and projects, but she’s withdrawn that request after blowback.

It was a pretty feel-good story in Alameda County in November, when civil rights attorney Pamela Price was elected the first Black district attorney in the county’s history. She did not defeat 13-year incumbent DA Nancy O’Malley, O’Malley declined to run again and retired. So it seemed like a smooth transition would be in order.

That smooth transition appears to have blown up. The Chronicle reports that O’Malley tried to direct $20 million from her successor’s budget, instead funneling that money into nonprofits and projects which O'Malley had co-founded or served with. The request has since been rescinded, but a war of words is underway.

“I am very concerned about such a large transfer of resources from my office,” Price wrote in an email to O’Malley, which was obtained by the Chronicle. The Chron adds that “In a statement, Price told The Chronicle that O’Malley didn’t alert her or consult her about the request.” For perspective, the Alameda County DA’s annual budget was $94 million in 2022, so $20 million would represent a full fifth of the office’s budget.

Certainly these are good causes and nonprofits to whom the money would have been redirected. The Alameda County Family Justice Center supports women and families who are victims of abuse or domestic violence (though O’Malley is listed as an executive), and the CARES Navigation Center is a diversion program that directs low-level offenders out of the prison system (the center was launched under O’Malley’s administration).

So it’s not unreasonable to say there is some appearance of self-dealing. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors had been slated to take up the $20 million transfer request at an upcoming meeting, but according to the Chronicle, “by Monday [the request] had been withdrawn by the district attorney’s office, according to meeting agendas.”

And decide on your own whether it is a factor that Price ran against O’Malley for the DA job in 2018, with O’Malley winning by a 58%-42% margin.

Related: Civil Rights Attorney Pamela Price Claims Victory as Alameda County's First Black District Attorney [SFist]