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Did Top City Staff Leak Audit Memo? (Opinion)

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. city-staffresponseHMRreport.jpgOur 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.

 

6 replies »

  1. A pet peeve of mine is how city staff present projects at council. No exaggeration and more than once people in the audience mistake a city staff presenter with a developer.
    The city staff have been reported to have encouraged higher density to developers when they bring a plan to the Planning Division. So don’t be surprised when every development is at the high end or outside of the zoning allowance.

  2. Rajeev throwing Ruth under the bus? Kidding right? More like RUTH dragging Rajeev under the semi! They are both trash and both need to be hauled out by the new City Manager as soon as she/he arrives in the scene. Santa Clara is wasting money, air,and space with Asst, City Mgr Ruth … She has got to go … She spends more time sucking up to the 49ers than even the new acting Director of Finance. Sure are lots of long overdue housecleaning projects at 1500 Warburton … Gonna save Santa Clara a boatload of money, issues and problems as soon as that toilet is finally flushed.

  3. Seems comical that CIty Staff is spending so much energy defending the 49ers but is not providing information to either the Council nor the Stadium Authority nor the public. Makes one wonder just how much money they are getting under the table from the Niners, doesn’t it? They sure aren’t don’t a CYA for the people who are legally issuing them a paycheck!

    Let’s hope the next City Manager has the courage to clean out all the rotten garbage that is piled up in City Hall … It is costing the citizens and taxpayers millions of dollars to contain the stench.

  4. I would have to say that people in City Hall don’t like how Rajeev is throwing Ruth under the bus.

  5. A “leak” is the least of the issues.
    Please investigate the ongoing ethical breaches from current and former city managers, senior city staff as well as city council and mayors. This is on top of the incompetence and laziness of senior city staff. The fact that they have staff reports that are largely written by the 49ers and most of the developers.

    Santa Clara is so corrupt it’s sickening. The 49ers and most developers get away with murder and the staff, (much of the) City Council and the City Clerk/Auditor (auditor? that’s a joke!) are in on it.

    I doubt the City Council has the ability to clean up the swamp.

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