Alameda Denies Wholesale Purging of E-Mails

By Anne Lowe

OPEN GOVERNMENT – The City of Alameda denied allegations Wednesday that city officials refused to comply with a Public Records Act request for e-mails initiated by a developer.


SCC Alameda Point LLC, which is owned by SunCal Companies, filed suit against the city and claimed Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and other city officials failed to produce e-mails the company requested in connection with a separate lawsuit.

The City of Alameda said in a letter to the attorneys for SCC Alameda that the allegations were untrue and cited examples in over 23,000 documents the city purportedly provided.

Action Alameda News reports:

SunCal’s announcement of the lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, came two days after it filed a claim with the City of Alameda for $117 million. Plaintiffs must file a claim with the City before proceeding to a lawsuit. In the claim, SunCal said that its local project entity, SCC Alameda Point LLC, suffered losses of $17 million for out-of-pocket expenses and $100 million in lost profits when the City of Alameda effectively terminated the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with the Irvine-based developer.

In the court pleading apparently filed on September 22nd, SunCal’s attorney Louis Miller asserted that the City of Alameda is “concealing material documents…that the public at large has the right to see under the Public Records Act.”

SunCal also cited the investigation into the allegations of misconduct by City Councilmember Lena Tam and also a public records request for e-mails from various councilmembers by local blogger Lauren Do. Ms. Do is an Alameda resident described by City of Alameda Special Counsel Michael Colantuono as one of Ms. Tam’s “favorites,” in his investigation of Tam.

According to a summary of the California Public Records Act available on the website for Californians Aware, California Government Code Section 6259(d) provides that the court may award “reasonable attorney fees” to the successful plaintiff in a Public Records Act lawsuit.

In a letter to Action Alameda News, the Alameda City Attorney called SunCal’s allegations “reckless and false,” and said the city has repeatedly advised the developer that the city has not been deleting any e-mails subject to disclosure.

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