By Robert Haugh
During last year’s campaign, before he was a Councilman, Suds Jain told voters in his district that he could vote on major downtown development issues. He was wrong.
We broke the story last year on September 23, 2020, that Jain had a conflict of interest. His wife Lori works at Santa Clara University. The school is near some potential downtown developments and he could financially benefit from it.
Jain knew of this conflict as early as 2016. He was a Planning Commissioner and had to recuse himself from the University’s master plan because of his wife’s employment.
After our story, Jain told voters in the district and people active in Reclaiming Our Downtown that our story was wrong and he could participate in downtown issues.
We called him out on his false claims in a second story on October 15, 2020. Here’s the part of the story where Jain explains himself:
“In an email exchange, Jain’s wife, Lori, confirmed that she will retire from SCU in January, 2021.
“We asked Jain if that means he believes he can vote on SCU issues as early as February, 2021. He replied by email: ‘Yes, my answer is yes.’”
Now it’s April, 2021 and Jain can’t vote because of a potential conflict.
Last night, the Council got an update from the Downtown Community Task Force. Jain was told by City Attorney Brian Doyle that he could not participate in the discussion or vote on any actions.
Doyle said that Jain appears to have a conflict because of his wife’s income from the University. The FPPC would need to clear him to participate. Doyle said basically the same thing in our October 15, 2020 story.
It’s clear now that Jain knew about the conflict years ago but misled voters in his district about it.
Editor’s Note: Tomorrow we’ll write about the activities of the Downtown Community Task Force and other actions at the Council meeting including the criticism of Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe for not letting Councilman Kevin Park speak at a rally.