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District Attorney’s Office Refuses to Release Letters in Tam Investigation

At last night’s Alameda City Council special meeting, Special Counsel to the City of Alameda Michael Colantuono told Council that the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has not yet provided to him, as requested, a copy of an August 12th letter sent by Lena Tam’s attorney to the District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney’s office has also refused to release that same letter, plus an additional, related letter, which is already public, to Action Alameda News.

Last night, Mr. Colantuono told City Council that he believed that the Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley, who lives in Alameda, erred in deciding not to open an investigation into the allegations that Lena Tam illegally shared City secrets with SunCal and other parties. No inquiry was opened, Colantuono said, and no evidence was gathered. Instead, the District Attorney’s office only reviewed a series of letters from himself and Tam’s attorney, one of which, an August 12th letter sent by Tam’s attorney John Keker to the D.A.’s office, was apparently the last before the D.A. decided not to pursue the matter. Mr. Colantuono said he wants to see the letter, and potentially respond to it – it may hold the key to the mistake he believes the D.A.’s office made by dropping the issue.

Earlier this week, Action Alameda News sent a public records request to the District Attorney’s office, requesting a copy of the August 12th letter, and a copy of a letter from the D.A.’s office to Mr. Keker on September 2nd, wherein the D.A. announced her decision to not refer the case to the Grand Jury, nor open a criminal investigation. This second letter has already been published on The Island, a local news website to which Councilmember Tam leaked City of Alameda attorney-client privileged information in the past. Colantuono told Council last night that Tam’s provision of confidential information to selected outsiders not entitled to receive it constituted political favoritism.

Michael O’Connor, Senior Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County, wrote back to Action Alameda News, rebuffing our requests for copies of both the August 12th and September 2nd letter, “because these letters pertain to a complaint to a law enforcement agency, they are exempt from disclosure under the CPRA. (See Gov. Code § 6254(f).)” Additionally, Mr. O’Connor wrote, “Furthermore a copy of one of the letters has been released by someone outside the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. That copy is available on the internet at the link below.” O’Connor provided a link to a story on The Island wherein one can find an embedded copy of letter. (However, without an electronic copy of the letter through official channels, Action Alameda News is prevented from similarly including the letter here, or combining it with the rest of the letters in the series as a service to readers, so that they may read the exchanges in chronological order.)

Mr. O’Connor has not yet responded to a second e-mail, insisting that he provide a copy of the September 2nd letter, so that we have a copy direct from the source.

9 comments to District Attorney’s Office Refuses to Release Letters in Tam Investigation

  • I believe there was some mention by the D.A. That the voters might pass judgment on Tam before any Grand Jury could. Excellent idea! Most of us, a clear majority, already have. The tiny minority favoring The Island and Blogging Bayport, including Hot Air, will vote for her, and be overruled yet again, as they were with Measures B & E, the SunCal buttkiss and the AUSD “Throw More Money At The Mediocre Status Quo” measure, which, it is rumored, will be re-visited at $600 per parcel, the most regressive possible, unfair tax they could put forth. It would mean that Harsh parcel at South Shore and the Gold Coast McMansion would pay no more than that little cottage on the West End!

    Fortunately, the voters in Alameda are too intelligent to buy that merde. That’s a French word, Hot Air, something you play with all the time…

    Greenzie

  • Vania

    A night or so ago, I watched the re-run of the last episode of The Good Wife, where the woman lawyer, Alicia, is married to the sleaze bag “State’s Attorney for Cook County” who went to jail for corruption and got out after an appeal.

    In the second last episode, when the sleaze bag husband gets off on appeal, he holds a party and all of his sleazy political friends are celebrating at Alicia’s apartment.

    Then, in the last episode, the sleaze bag husband announces that he is going to run for his old job again, as “State’s Attorney for Cook County”.

    Those two episodes made me think of politics in Alameda County. Some public agencies’ lawyers are good people and some are just sleazy.

    Those two episodes of the show were so sadly creepy and real I don’t think I am going to watch it next season. Art imitating life is a sometimes too much to bear.

  • Hot R

    A peine d’la merde! Looks like your Tam investigation received le coup de grace… N’est-ce pas? And Vania – that’s still a good show…

    Talk about grandstanding…Colantuano knew he doesn’t get a chance to repsond to a letter to the DA. So let’s recap – the guy hired to get Tam is upset because he didn’t get Tam. What’s next? Maybe he can hold his breath until he gets his way..The sad part is that the City is paying his bill. Every attorney knows he should stop speaking after the judge has ruled.

    My further prediction – Gallant and City Attorney to go after the election and scaled down parcel tax to pass. Quelle Horreur!

  • Hot R – so do you condone Lena Tam’s behavior? She admitted to sending the material to SunCal, and it’s pretty well documented that it was City of Alameda confidential material. Do you approve of that?

  • Hot Air’s French is every bit as bad as his English! What a surprise. High School French doesn’t cut it, never did, not the way the public schools teach it…

    And as usual, his predictions are entertaining, but not enlightening. The ICM and City Attorney will be around long after Tam is dog meat. Oh, I’m sorry…Sezchuan Beef. As a SunCal partisan, he has no choice but to support Tam’s illegal and admittedly improper actions, is simply glad that the D.A. is in bed with her suspect, and that nothing will come of this until the next election. Hot Air doesn’t understand that politics is perception, not property, and that we voters get it even if he doesn’t.

  • Yes. The D.A.’s office directed us to that site. But the letter is of unknown provenance. Presumably Lena Tam and Keker provided it to The Island.

    Additionally, if we wanted to embed it in an article as did The Island, or compile it in chronological order with all of the other letters, the DA’s office is precluding us from doing so.

  • Action Alameda News has acquired a copy of the Keker letter, and Michael Colontuono’s response:

    http://www.action-alameda-news.com/2010/09/23/latest-lena-tam-affair-attorney-letters-released/

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