Investigative

Investigative

Money and politics: Santa Clara mayor’s family empire

Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor might represent a smaller Bay Area city, but there’s nothing small about her business empire. Gillmor, who is up for reelection in 2022, controls a sprawling real estate portfolio that includes strip malls in Santa Clara, swaths of undeveloped land near Gilroy and a small plot in San Bernardino County. Her...

How Sam Liccardo plans to influence 2022 elections

Mayor Sam Liccardo may be leaving San Jose City Hall next year, but the longtime politician isn’t ready to give up power. The city’s top lawmaker wants to have his finger on the pulse of the City Council—and even potentially pick his replacement. Liccardo formed a political action committee in late October to influence the consequential...

Former San Jose council candidate forms shadowy political nonprofit

A new local advocacy group is rallying against San Jose’s policies on gun control and homelessness, but the organization doesn’t want the public to know who is behind it—or who is funding it. The political nonprofit, called Silicon Valley Public Accountability Foundation, promotes a stance against gun control and the “housing first” approach to solve homelessness—all while...

Santa Clara County supervisor uses private emails for public business

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo isn’t the only Silicon Valley lawmaker who uses private emails to conduct public business. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, one of the frontrunners in the mayoral race to succeed Liccardo next year, also appears to communicate with other elected officials—and lobbyists—using a private email account, records obtained by San José...

San Jose releases Liccardo’s private emails: What we learned

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo routinely uses his private email account to discuss city matters, communicate with local nonprofits and strategize with lobbyists, a San José Spotlight analysis of his recent emails found. One email thread also shows how Liccardo potentially mixes city resources with his nonprofit Solutions San Jose— an advocacy organization formed earlier...

San Jose consultant uses private email, causes confusion

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s use of private email to skirt public records law is raising questions about how his office handles resident complaints. A new thread of emails, obtained by San José Spotlight, shows an ex-employee of the mayor’s office—now a consultant—using a Gmail account to handle complaints made by the resident. The mayor...

Attorney to San Jose mayor: Don’t delete your emails

More than a decade ago, Mayor Sam Liccardo was among several officials sued over their use of private emails to conduct public business. Now, the attorney who successfully argued the case against the city worries Liccardo is at it again. San Francisco attorney Karl Olson, representing San José Spotlight, sent a letter last Friday to...

San Jose mayor’s private emails spark response from watchdogs, attorney

A San Francisco law firm and a free speech advocacy group are demanding San Jose City Hall release emails from the mayor’s private account after San José Spotlight reported on his attempt to skirt public records law last month. Prominent San Francisco media attorney Karl Olson and the First Amendment Coalition separately have filed two public records...

San Jose mayor uses private email to skirt public records law

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo appears to have skirted public records laws by directing a resident to contact him on his private Gmail and deleting their correspondence from his public government account. The email thread, obtained by San José Spotlight, shows the mayor promising to delete the conversation from his official email. None of the messages in question—which...

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