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Submitted by on 1, July 6, 2010 – 8:12 pm10 Comments

City officials have asked the Alameda County Grand Jury to look into whether City Councilwoman Lena Tam violated the Brown Act and to consider whether that alleged misconduct should result in her removal from office. They claim Tam disclosed confidential, privileged information to developer SunCal and the local firefighters’ union.

Tam, who said she was only conducting due diligence on matters before the council and that she hasn’t violated the Brown Act – and who only became aware of the investigation tonight – said she welcomes the scrutiny.

The confidential investigation was conducted by an outside attorney at the behest of Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, Tam said. The City Council voted 4-0 in closed session – a session Tam was asked to recuse herself from – to release the investigation results.

“The City Council decision in this regard was made in the best interest of open government in Alameda. We look to the district attorney and grand jury to do what is in Alameda’s best interest in this matter,” Mayor Beverly Johnson said.

More to come.


  • Gillico says:

    You forgot to mention Ms Tam is also alleged to have leaked information to John Knox White and Lauren Do, in addition to SunCal and the Firefighters Union.

    For those who don’t immediately recognize their names, they are champions of the Yes on Measure E campaign, local bloggers, both for their own sites and the SF Gate, and, in John’s case, a member of APLUS and the Vice Chair of Alameda’s Sunshine Task Force, which, ironically is the committee responsible for more transparency in Alameda city government.

    Hold on, folks, this is going to get fun!

  • Incredulous says:

    I have now lived in two cities, outside of Alameda, where this sort of leaking of attorney-client privileged information by a city council person, to the city’s adversary or potential in litigation has occurred…repeatedly.

    This sort of conduct by any elected official is a clear breach of the elected official’s fiduciary duty to the public agency, and to the voters who suffer economically when litigation doesn’t go the public’s way because of leaking in the public agency’s camp.

    I’ve actually sat down with an L.A. County Deputy D.A., who looked through the Penal Code, trying to find a crime which was committed. He said he couldn’t see one, and pointed to the Federal “honest services” law which the U.S. Supreme Court just invalidated except in cases of bribery or theft by a public official.

    As a result, referring this matter to the Alameda County Grand Jury is a very gutsy thing for the Alameda City Council to do. I will patiently wait to see what happens.

    Then again it may be a long time before anything happens, knowing how D.A.’s and Grant Juries work.

  • gillico says:

    Hard to miss when it’s on the first page of the press release from the City.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    Well, well. The Interim City Manager, who just last month failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest (she hired a former client/employer of hers to handle city redevelopment bond refinancing) looks like she is trying to create a defensive smokescreen of her own by going after Council member Tam.

    The ICM sure has interesting taste in picking political targets to try and take down. As a former President of the League of Women Voters of Alameda and long-time champion of open and honest government, Lena Tam has a decades-long record of public service and dedication to ethical government.

    It is a great diversionary tactic to go after a “squeaky clean” and intelligent public servant if you want to take yourself–and your own well-publicized gaffes–out of the limelight. More to come, indeed…

  • Barbara M says:

    So the mayor who I have heard from multiple sources is considering a run for one of the city council seats. Lena’s is up for reelection. An ICM who has a history of running rogue and doesn’t like Lena. These are her accusers? I need a lot more facts.

  • gillico says:

    For Ms Gallant to award contracts to out-of-City firms, who are less qualified and knowledgable than in-City firms, especially when there was no review or bid process, and for the firms only to get the job because they worked with Ms Gallant in other cities, is not ethical or proper behavior, no matter who uncovered it.

    Much the same with what appears to be going on with Ms Tam. She and Ms Gallant may not like each other, and Ms Johnson may be running for a new seat. But, whomever the whistleblower is, there is still many things wrong going on in Alameda City Government that need to be fixed. Now. I don’t think anyone is going to come out of this “Squeaky Clean.”

  • Chris Kapowich says:

    I find the actions of Lena Tam shocking. The fact that she is not denying most of the allegations, only makes you wonder what other hidden agenda’s are on her books. To see some of the lame reasons for defending her are even more disconcerting. To claim Ms Tam is only trying to help this poor little giant development Company that stands to gains millions in profits is a joke. All of our daily actions are about motive. I will go to Safeway, because I need food. When Ms Tam runs down the hallway and calls SunCal with key information concerning Alameda’s dealing with SunCal, she is making sure that when or if the deal go’s down, her pockets will be lined by SunCal. She is an inside mole waiting for the cash payments which she probably already has recieved. Ms Tam, you are a liar, and you are using your color of authority to recieve money. Please step down, and go away.

  • Dennis Green says:

    The notion that this is all a smokescreen seems more than a little twisted. Anyone who has lived in Alameda longer than a week knows that conflicts of interest, “family ties,” etc. abound, and taking the “branding” of Alameda off-island is indeed bizarre, almost as much so as hiring san Oakland political consulting firm at $300/hour would be, but Tam deserves the grand (jury?) prize if these allegations are true. I thought the voters had kicked SunCal to the curb long ago, but apparently not. Is it only Tam and Gilmore keeping them hanging on? And can we please send them back to Orange County NOW?!?!


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