Milpitas workers bullied by former official
Rajeev Madnawat during a 2018 Milpitas Planning Commission meeting. Screenshot.

    An attorney and former Milpitas planning commissioner whose rude and threatening language landed him in trouble before is sending curse-laden emails to the city attorney on behalf of the frontrunner in the mayor’s race.

    Following the inadvertent release of some of Vice Mayor Carmen Montano’s personal information in response to a public records request, attorney Rajeev Madnawat emailed City Attorney Michael Mutalipassi several times demanding information about the situation and insulting him.

    Milpitas resident Christopher Martin requested information about Montano’s business license as he was preparing to file a complaint about her with the Fair Political Practices Commission.

    Martin told San José Spotlight the records the city sent him included unredacted documents showing Montano’s social security number, home address, phone number and other personal information.

    Charmaine Angelo, a city spokesperson, confirmed the city “mistakenly” shared Montano’s personal information, and that Martin immediately notified the city of its error.

    “The city immediately redacted the personal information from its response. The document with personal information is no longer a public record,” Angelo told San José Spotlight.

    The city’s mishandling of the public records request prompted angry emails from Montano, followed by a slew of emails from Madnawat.

    Madnawat said in an Oct. 16 email to Mutalipassi and Montano that he is an attorney representing Montano, and in a follow-up email on Oct. 20 he cursed at Mutalipassi and implied he would be fired from the city soon.

    “Are you the city attorney? What is your experience? I have been an attorney for a long time. You seem like a piece of s***,” Madnawat wrote in the email, which was obtained by San José Spotlight. “Give me good answers or the city will be sued and you will be fired. You will be fired anyway next year.”

    Montano responded later in the email thread on Oct. 26 saying that while she was “very upset and stressed” about her personal information being released, she did not condone Madnawat’s profanity in the emails.

    “I am a parent, grandmother, teacher, a woman of faith and a political figure,” Montano wrote. “I expect someone to reflect my moral compass. Your emails do not do that. I disclaim any emails with the use of profanity that reflect any negativity on who I am as a person and public figure.”

    Montano and Madnawat did not respond to requests for comment from San José Spotlight.

    Montano has served nearly eight years on the Milpitas City Council across two stints, and made her second run for mayor this year. She was previously a school board member in Milpitas and a teacher.

    Typing a tirade

    Before Madnawat began sending emails, Montano wrote to Mutalipassi on Oct. 13 demanding an investigation be done into how her personal information was shared. Mutalipassi, in response, said the inadvertent release of information was apparently caused by an “extremely unfortunate series of errors” and a “breakdown at several levels in several departments.”

    Angelo said the city “deeply regrets” the sharing of her personal information. Angelo added the city has completed Public Records Act training for city staff, and put in place new procedures for records requests related to business licenses.

    “Additionally, the city’s Information Technology Department also purchased a top-tier credit and identity protection and theft monitoring service for one year for Vice Mayor Montano,” Angelo said.

    Madnawat, in his emails to Mutalipassi, compared the city offering Montano credit monitoring services to a person giving breakfast to a “rape victim” and telling them they are fine.

    He said training the staff wasn’t enough and called employees of the city “braindead morons” among other insults.

    “No mother f***** was fired in the city for disclosing the social security and personal information of the vice mayor? What world are you living in? You are done. Pack up,” Madnawat wrote.

    This is not the first time Madnawat, who has previously run for city council, has been in hot water for his use of foul language toward public officials.

    In 2020, he sent emails to Councilmember Anthony Phan calling him a “prostitute,” according to media reports at the time. In 2018, Madnawat resigned from the Milpitas Planning Commission after he said city councilmembers sit on their “fat asses” and don’t do enough to address the housing crisis.

    In 2014, Madnawat, upset over former Milpitas Councilmember Armando Gomez starting a political action committee funded by developers to help other council candidates, appeared to threaten Gomez in an email.

    “I can assure you once I go after someone I don’t leave them until they are lifeless or in prison,” he wrote in 2014.

    Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on Twitter.

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