BREAKING: Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce Hires Controversial Santa Claran as New CEO

By Robert Haugh

According to multiple sources, the Silicon Valley Central Chamber has selected controversial former City Council candidate Harbir Bhatia as their new CEO.

She will replace Christian Malesic who left in January to become the Executive Director of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Dallas, TX.

Bhatia was not the Chamber’s first choice.

According to former Chamber Board Chair John Elwood, the Chamber made an offer to a candidate in February. But the candidate and organization could not agree on terms.

The Chamber’s search turned up other potential candidates, according to multiple sources before settling on Bhatia.

Bhatia is a controversial Santa Clara figure.

In 2020, Jed York spent millions of dollars to support Bhatia, Anthony Becker, Kevin Park and Suds Jain for City Council.

Bhatia was the only one to lose as she was defeated by the incumbent Councilmember Kathy Watanabe.

In that campaign, she was blasted for her work for Silicon Sage Construction, a company that engaged in wage theft.

Numerous nonprofit leaders have told Santa Clara News Online that Bhatia would promise major sponsorship dollars for events from Silicon Sage.  But the checks never arrived even after the company was given credit at events.

After the campaign, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged SiliconSage Builders with defrauding investors. Hundreds of investors may have lost $119 million in a Ponzi scheme. 

Bhatia has also been controversial on social media. She was also kicked off NextDoor for using abusive language with Santa Clarans online.  (So was Becker).

Bhatia also used abusive language and bullying tactics in text messages with City Clerk Hosam Haggag during the campaign.

Bhatia has served on Santa Clara boards and commissions and local nonprofits, frequently stepping down before her term ends.

She’s also taken some high-profile positions on some local measures.  

In 2018, Bhatia campaigned for Measure A to create new multi-member City Council districts in Santa Clara.  Then two years later as a City Council candidate, she flip flopped and supported single-member districts. That’s something the 49ers were pushing and had all their financially supported candidates support.

Tonight at the Santa Clara City Council meeting, the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce will introduce Bhatia and other new board members to the community. 



  1. Be aware COC. All board members and employees. You hired a nightmare. Be prepared for staff exodus and harassment lawsuits. This person is a bully and micromanager. Her style has caused people to quit the Cultural Commission every 6 months. She promised sponsorships to Mission City Community Fund and SC PAL on behalf of Silicon Sage. $25k and $2.5k respectively. Those non-profits were stiffed after jumping through hoops to change sponsor materials for events at the last minute.

    This is who you hired COC! You should be embarrassed. Who vetted this person? It was well/known that she is a shyster. A fake. An opportunist. Well, here’s your opportunity, COC. Cut the cord before she costs you way more in liability than economic development!

    • There is an unpaid sponsorship bill still outstanding from Silicon Sage to the Library Fdtn. These non profits cannot afford to be lied to like this. It seems wherever this Harbir Bhatia goes trouble isn’t far behind.

  2. Robert, it is NOT April Fool’s Day anymore.

    Say this isn’t true.


  3. Dear Community,

    What this article says is true.

    SiliconSage Development (whatever) made a lot of financial promises.

    She was the lead – in contacting our Community.

    What happened was unethical and unthinkable in our Community.

    We knew people like SiliconSage existed – but to part of an organization that purposely ambushed the Community with promoting positive actions – that is the criminal art of her role in the organization.

    She knew. I believe she knew.

    Her words were always happy, but the reality was sad for the East Valley.

    So much was hidden from us about the projects – more then one project for sure.

    You get what you deserve for better or worse.

    I will not be listening or supporting – any -“dog and pony show” from this Chamber!!!

    I am always available for discussion.

    This is my opinion.

    In Community Spirit,
    Danny Garza

  4. You forgot Kevin Park who benefitted from all the 49er $$$$ to get elected. Can you imagine if Bhatia did win?

    49er 6!

    She should be wearing orange along with Becker!

  5. The Chamber is sunk..
    Who did the 49ers payoff for this
    new CEO plant? Give Bhatia
    6 months to sink the Chamber.

    • Mr. Haugh, 4/1/23 (April Fool’s Day) was almost 3 months ago…. are you sure this is a real story?
      This just can’t be true!!
      With so many qualified people currently out of work, how is this even possible?

      We are a small City, we can fix this.
      Hopefully I’ll see you tonight at the 49er Council Meeting.
      I will be there to show my support for the Chief Of Police.
      As bad as it was for me at the last 49er Council Meeting, I was horrified at how they were talking about our Chief of Police, his wife and kids. Just plain wrong on so many levels.

      Finally, If you are thinking of coming tonight to City Hall around 7pm, I might suggest wearing something Orange.
      Why? Use your imagination, and understand one of my favorite shows a few years ago was “Orange is the new Black”.

      Bottomline we all get one vote. Let’s not waste it, let’s all get out and make a difference as we educate our neighbors.

      Burt Field
      Former Parks and Recreation Commissioner
      Yes, I still think it’s funny they actually took the time and effort to fire a volunteer… and why do you ask? Really good question. Surprisingly it was the only time all night they all shut up. They literally, as a group choose not to give any verbal reason. Not even in writing, hieroglyphics, or petroglyphs. So really how bad was I, that I had to be singled out, out of all the other Commissioners not to be re-appointed.
      However the best was saved for last.
      “Super intelligent” Kevin Prank saying out loud that he did not even know who I was? Then why did he vote to have me removed, not once, but twice?
      Maybe he should ask Karen Hardly what the term “Recuse or Recusal” means.

      Remember, Orange is the new Black.

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