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Submitted by on 1, September 9, 2010 – 7:32 pm11 Comments

City Council members voted unanimously not to sue Councilwoman Lena Tam over accusations she leaked confidential information to SunCal and the firefighters union and violated the state’s open meetings law by blind-copying Councilwoman Marie Gilmore on e-mails she sent to other council members.

“This was given to the district attorney, the district attorney evaluated it, and rendered a decision. And we need to move on now,” said Councilman Frank Matarrese, who said he would not support pressing a suit against Tam.

Councilwoman Marie Gilmore echoed comments she made Tuesday saying she would not support a suit.

The city’s outside attorney, Michael Colantuono, said District Attorney Nancy O’Malley was mistaken when she declined to pursue a case against Tam or to forward it to a grand jury for her removal, and he said he’s hoping to make O’Malley reconsider. Still, he said it would be too costly to pursue a suit.

More to come.


  • Dave Needle says:

    I was glad to see the clear details presented by the outside atty. Now everyone can understand that Tam did in fact send secret city information to SunCal. Her declaration that she did nothing wrong or unusual makes it clear to everyone that she will continue to provide city secrets to outsiders.
    Please let us remember her behavior and please do not let her win a council seat this November.

  • Mike says:

    I’m very glad to hear that reason prevailed amongst our city council with tonight’s decision. As for the city manager, city attorney and the investigator who has been racking up the bills at taxpayers’ expense, I hope the council continues to show leadership and sends them packing, because these three want to continue the witch hunt. This was a fiasco, and it was clearly politically motivated. This needlessly caused more divisiveness and was a waste of the public’s money.

  • David Howard says:

    Tam never denied that she sent the information to SunCal and others, clearly documented here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/34010954

    She merely activated, after being caught red-handed, her political support base to try to falsely spin her actions – see the comments below that will surely follow – as some attempt at “transparency.”

    Follow the comments below for the false accusations of a political vendetta (the investigation into Tam preceded the blow-up between Tam and the ICM over the fire chief and the branding contract – well documented on this site and others), false suggestions that Tam was trying to achieve “transparency” (Blind carbon-copying e-mail recipients, including Alameda City Councilmember Marie Gilmore is an attempt to conceal something, not grant transparency), and some sort of conspiracy to “get” Tam on behalf of the City Attorney and Interim City Manger (not proven, demonstrated, or documented at all, let alone documented to the extent presented in Mr. Colantuano’s original submissions to the D.A.)

    Interesting also is the District Attorney’s office refusal to honor my public records request for a) a copy of the decision letter from the D.A. office to Tam’s attorney Keker (already published on this website, presumably courtesy of Tam’s camp – unless it came from the D.A.’s office directly) and b) a copy of Keker’s August 12th letter to the D.A.’s office, which has not been provided to Colantuono or the City of Alameda either.

  • David Howard says:

    Oh! Also, dear readers, watch for the vitriol and invective spewed in my direction for my previous comment. Only the truth could garner such attention.

  • ct says:

    Thank you, members of the City Council, for listening to reason and acting with decency.

    And I completely agree with Mike’s comment.

  • Just so everyone is clear about what happened at City Hall this evening – Mayor Beverly Johnson (an attorney herself) presided over an old fashioned Kangaroo Court and the surprise defendant was none other than Councilmember Lena Tam.
    The council, who was there to decide whether to sue Tam civilly, didn’t really need to take up that issue after “Judge” Johnson allowed what was to be a 10 minute wrap-up of the city’s failed Tam investigation turn into a passionate, personal and wildly inappropriate 45-minute-plus “Law and Order”-style closing argument by outside counsel Michael Colantuono.
    During this political diatribe Colantuono repeatedly referred to Tam as a law breaker and as an ethically-flawed politician.
    Not once did Johnson stop Colantuono’s speech even though she knew Tam had no lawyer present to defend her. Effectively Tam was put on the spit and Colantuono wheeled in the barbecue sauce (And was clearly only too happy to do it after having his butt kicked by the DA’s office earlier this week.)
    So why would our beloved Mayor allow this to go on in the way it did? It’s simple – the more damage she can inflict on Tam, the better her chances of getting her tired act put back on the city council this Nov. 2.
    Even the fact that mayoral candidate Doug deHaan motioned to open up what was to be a closed session is clear evidence that tonight’s little political barbecue was planned in advance and it wasn’t about deciding whether to sue her but rather to inflict as much damage as possible in front of an in-person and cable TV audience – thus diminishing her chances of re-election. Congrats Doug and Bev – mission accomplished. Thanks for letting Alameda politics sink to a new record low.

  • It’s great that the City Council is able to see that the District Attorney, who had access to the unredacted purportedly-priveleged emails that Councilmember Tam was accused of sharing, found, after an exhaustive investigation, that there was no violation of the attorney client privilege.

    It’s nice to see rationality prevail for the first time in a while.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    Mr. Colantuono was impressively aggressive–one might say vicious–tonight in his attacks on Lena Tam, who was not represented by legal counsel and was forced to defend herself–a stacked deck that was probably orchestrated to be just that. It was an unfair fight, to put it mildly.

    I wonder how Mr. Colantuono would react if he were presented with the evidence that I know exists documenting Ann Marie Gallant’s several missteps and violations of her “fiduciary responsibility” in 2009-2010. Would Colantuono react as strongly in the face of the ICM’s private emails to Suncal opponent David Howard or her circumventing “good faith negotiations” with our firefighter’s union? Would his outrage be as strong and unconstrained?

    If, as he claims, he is purely interested in open and transparent government, I suggest that he ask Terry Highsmith, our City Attorney, to tell him all she knows about the ICM’s misdeeds. Now the results of THAT investigation might be worth $100,000, or just a tad more than the ICM wasted on a “rebranding” survey that still has not been released…

  • Jon Spangler says:

    Anyone who is intrigued by what has been happening during Paradegate (censorship of political statements in parade entries by the City Attorney), the persecution /prosecution of Lena Tam, or the Interim City Manager’s almost-undisclosed ties to the financial consultants she hired to handle city bond refinancing should come to the Sunshine Task Force Workshop, 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the Alameda Free Library.

    Agenda: http://www.ci.alameda.ca.us/archive/agenda.html?agenda=cc_100911_1629

    It’s free and open to the public.

  • Alamedan for Change says:

    Let’s do a poll on whether Lena Tam should sue the ICM/Mayor, deHaan for libel. Where did the city find such an asinine lawyer? My hard-earned tax dollars are being spent on a guy that comes into town insulting our county District Attorney because he got thoroughly trounced after launching frivolous allegations Beverly Johnson promote for her political smear campaign against Tam? What a sore loser! Whoever is responsible for hiring this guy needs to go. Sheesh!

  • Dave L. says:

    Jon, good point on the David Howard email. When a principle opponent of Suncal is getting information sent by Gallant (obviously she left it in a email by mistake), no one seems to mind.

    When multiple parties request email records and the city attorney denies the request, nobody seems to mind this as well.

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