Did Top City Staff Leak Audit Memo?
By Robert Haugh
Much has been made of who leaked the Harvey Rose stadium audit.
As our faithful readers know, the Santa Clara Weekly got the confidential draft of the audit and reported it on June 8 before anyone else. There were a lot of major mistakes in the reporting. But we still gave kudos to Weekly reporter Carolyn Schuk for her scoop.
Then, the Weekly did something strange. They tried to cover up the fact that they got the confidential draft audit. Huh? That’s strange even for them.
When there’s a cover up, there’s usually a good story. So we kept asking around City Hall. Unfortunately, we haven’t figured out who gave the Weekly the Harvey Rose audit. But we learned something else.
According to multiple City Hall sources, Interim City Manager Rajeev Batra and Assistant City Manager Ruth Shikada may have been the source of the leak of the confidential City Staff memo that appeared in the Mercury News story about the stadium audit by Ramona Giwargis.
Batra denies he gave it to the Mercury News. “I directed the Assistant City Manager to forward the City staff response to the Stadium Audit Committee on my behalf,” stated Batra.
That would be Shikada.
“Per the City Manager’s direction, I sent the City staff response to the Stadium Audit Committee on behalf of the City Manager,” stated Shikada. I did not share it with anyone else.”
Batra and Shikada are are both considered close to the 49ers. The leaked document defended the 49ers’ position on the audit.
But here’s what’s interesting. The document the Mercury News put online has, according to one City Hall source, “Rajeev’s fingerprints on it.” Batra apparently is the only one on the distribution list who routinely prints his emails and documents and uses a 3-hole punch to put it into a binder.
Here’s the confidential document with a 3-hole punch that the Mercury News got from their source. Our sources say that the City Staff response was distributed electronically to the Stadium Audit Committee. So the leaked document was Batra’s copy which apparently only he and Shikada had access to.
We’re less concerned about the document and the information getting to reporters. (Hey, we encourage it.) We’re more interested in all the effort people are exerting to cover their tracks, from the Weekly to City Staff. It makes us think if there’s so much smoke, there must a good fire. We’ll keep digging.