By Robert Haugh
The Lozano Smith law firm has billed the City of Santa Clara $300,000 since mid-April.
That’s when they were hired after the 49er Five fired former City Attorney Brian Doyle for no cause.
On Tuesday, the Council voted 5-2 to increase Lozano Smith’s contract from $300,000 to $900,000.
The 49er Five voted yes. Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe voted no.
Doyle was paid $345,596 in salary and $405,539 in total compensation according to Transparent California.
As City Attorney, Doyle cost the City less than $34,000 per month in salary and benefits.
For their first three months, the Lozano Smith law firm averaged approximately $100,000 per month. That’s three times Doyle’s total compensation, including Doyle’s benefits.
Now, Lozano Smith gets an extra $600,000.
And they would not tell the Council how long that would last. It could be spent in one month or six. Wow.
Lozano Smith’s lead attorney James Sanchez won’t even be at Council meetings to provide legal guidance as promised in the original contract.
Sanchez said he would work on “special projects.”
Sanchez called into the meeting Tuesday from a home office or a spare bedroom.
One local attorney texted Santa Clara News Online Tuesday night: “you’re watching a legal fleecing.”
Editor’s Note: The 49er Five are Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.
Jed York spent $3 million in November 2020 to elect Becker, Jain and Park. They were previously 0-6 in Santa Clara elections. Chahal and Hardy have received gifts from the team recently without reporting them.
The 49er Five meet with the team on an almost weekly basis and have voted to help the team win millions of dollars in concessions from the City since December 2020.