TAM INVESTIGATION UPDATE
On Tuesday and Wednesday, The Island reported that Councilwoman Lena Tam is facing accusations of officials misconduct for allegedly leaking confidential information to SunCal, the firefighters union and others, and for allegedly violating state open meetings law by emailing groups of council members to discuss city business. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office has been asked to pass the case to a grand jury so they can consider whether Tam should be removed from office. Tam has denied the claims.
Prosecutors contacted by the city’s attorney were both out of the office and unavailable for comment Wednesday.
We’ve got electronic copies of the reports attorney Michael G. Colantuono submitted to prosecutors on May 26 and this past Friday, July 2 (it’s attached to the second part of the original report, since this seems to be the only way I can get it to open properly). And you can check those out below. In the meantime, here’s a quick update on late-breaking events.
On Wednesday night, Tam was asked to recuse herself from the council’s closed session meeting as a result of the allegations and when she declined, the rest of the council opted not to conduct any of its closed session business. The council had been slated to discuss a lawsuit between the city and Boatworks developer Francis Collins and the price and terms for transfer of a piece of property at 2221 Harbor Bay Parkway that is owned by SRM Associates.
On Wednesday night, Mayor Beverly Johnson also called on SunCal rep Stan Brown to return confidential communications she believes the company received from Tam. She said accusations that Tam leaked confidential information to SunCal’s reps could damage the company’s efforts to be seen as trustworthy by the community.
Brown said he has never personally received any e-mails from Tam and that the allegations have not yet been proven.”In talking to my folks, we strongly believe that nothing inappropriate has occurred,” Brown said.
Earlier in the day, both Tam and local blogger and political activist John Knox White, whose resignation from the city’s Sunshine Committee was demanded by Johnson in the wake of accusations that he received confidential documents from Tam, released statements saying they’ve done nothing wrong.
“I will continue to speak out and ask questions on behalf of the people of Alameda. It is unfortunate that the Interim City Manager finds that objectionable,” wrote Tam, who said there’s nothing to the accusations.
“On Tuesday night Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, City Attorney Teresa Highsmith and Mayor Beverly Johnson released defamatory political hit pieces against me, both aimed at damaging my reputation and credibility,” Knox White wrote. Given that the City has not alleged a single act of misconduct against
me and the fact that the city’s reports show me correctly pointing out Brown Act violations in the recent agendizing of closed-session city council meetings by the City Attorney and Interim City Manager, I’d suggest this is a political vendetta by a waning politician, rather than a meaningful call for action.”