By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara News Online got a lot of reactions to yesterday’s story about how Councilmember Kevin Park failed to disclose his income for two years as required by state law.
Most Mission City residents were outraged. Some felt this was Park acting in character.
Park has a history of late or incorrect reports, especially when it’s about undisclosed meetings with 49ers.
Or sometimes when he doesn’t report asking the team for money.
Former City Attorney Brian Doyle called to the public’s attention Park’s failure to disclose his income on June 7.
But the 49er Five refused to agendize the item for discussion saying Doyle had a conflict.
“The obligation to file a Form 700 is part of the Political Reform Act,” said Deputy District Attorney John Chase in an email. “The enforcement provisions are in numerous statutes beginning at Government Code section 91000.”
Chase is the head of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Public and Law Enforcement Integrity Team.
On June 21, Santa Clara resident Craig Larsen made the same request as Doyle from weeks earlier. Larsen said he had no conflict.
Here’s Larsen’s full statement from the Council meeting.
After that, Park amended his form and reported income on June 29.
On Tuesday, July 12, Larsen came before the City Council again and said that Park had amended his two Form 700 statements.
But Larsen still wanted Park to explain himself.
“It should not take petitions from the public for elected officials to do the right thing,” Larsen said.
But again, the Council rejected the request to let Park explain himself. The vote was 3-3 with Park abstaining.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Councilmembers Kathy Watanabe and Suds Jain voted to allow Park to explain himself.
Park remained silent during the debate.
(Editor’s Note: Jain did not vote with the 49er Five as suggested yesterday. Santa Clara News Online regrets the error and will give Jain an opportunity to write an oped to explain why he voted differently on June 7 and on July 12).
“In this case, the FPPC investigated and it has authority to impose administrative penalties and sometimes sue for civil penalties,” according to Chase.
According to sources, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is looking into Park’s failure to report his income.
Other actions are also possible.
“The civil prosecutor, either the city attorney or the district attorney, or any city resident can sue the recalcitrant and recover an amount related to the amount not disclosed,” said Chase.
“In practice around the state, the late filing of a Form 700 is generally punished by fines imposed by the filing clerk, which in this case would be the Santa Clara City Clerk.
“Finally, the district attorney can file a misdemeanor charge.”
This is a developing story.
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.