Who’s Behind the Frivolous Gillmor vs. Exline Lawsuit?

By Robert Haugh

Last week, Mayor Lisa Gillmor won a frivolous lawsuit filed by Santa Clara University law student. A few of the attorneys we talked to said the cost to file the suit and do the research would be over $100,000. Wow.

No one believes a law school student paid for it. Most community leaders believe it was the 49ers.  They have a history of getting involved in Santa Clara politics — and losing.  

They also have documented connections to dark money efforts in the Mission City. This could be a new way for the 49ers to use dark money.

Who Are the Front People?

If the 49ers are really behind this effort, who are the front people?

  • Brian Exline

He’s the Santa Clara University law student who’s about to graduate soon. He’s from Clovis and went to St. Mary’s College for undergrad. According to our sources, he ran cross country in high school. Most people don’t know much about him. Maybe that’s why he was a good front person. We’ll try and find out more.

  • Jim McManis

He’s the partner of a high-priced San Jose law firm. McManis Faulker has represented many controversial clients, like Aaron Persky. Persky was the first judge recalled in California in eight decades. The judge gave former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner a light sentence for rape.  McManis Faulkner also represented Santa Clara Vice Mayor Patty Mahan. She and a colleague were the first to be officially admonished by the City Council in the city’s history.

  • Ann Ravel

She started working at McManis Faulkner last year. Before that she was on the Federal Elections Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. She created a lot of controversy in both places. At the FPPC, she came down hard on dark money. Yup, No kidding. Now, she’s running for State Senate.

We think this is a developing story. We’ll continue to cover it.

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