A new report from an independent investigator depicts Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Council Member Kathy Watanabe unfavorably. According to the investigator working for a firm originally contracted by former City Manager Deanna Santana, Gillmor and Watanabe were not truthful about what happened during a closed-session meeting of the City Council on Aug. 30.
The pair said Council Member Anthony Becker threatened and bullied them behind closed doors while discussing terms for settling years of lawsuits with the San Francisco 49ers. Gillmor and Watanabe claimed that Becker had said “f*** off” to Watanabe and made a rude gesture.
Gillmor said she called the police. Both Gillmor and Watanabe subsequently walked out of the meeting, refusing to vote on the settlement agreement — something that had no impact on the action as a quorum remained.
Immediately after the closed session, Gillmor told the San Francisco Chronicle the story.
Gillmor and Watanabe’s accusations were repeated* without evidence or investigation in a report from the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury titled “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Santa Clara City Council.”
“There were reports of shouting, offensive hand gestures, and aggression by one of the members of the Voting Bloc during the closed session…the police were called and remained the rest of the session,” read page 21 of the Civil Grand Jury’s report.
Becker was not interviewed by the Civil Grand Jury. He feels vindicated that the truth has come out.
“The findings in this report are vindication that the narrative put out before the election was false,” said Becker. “There were no findings that I was ‘hostile,’ ‘bullying’ or ‘unprofessional’ in any comments to Mayor Gillmor during the open session meeting nor did I ‘threaten’ her during the closed session meeting.
“The complaints were political, and it was evident in my opponent’s mailers and flyers as well as in some media,” he continued. “Yet the truth always prevails, and this investigation proves that. I want to commend those who did this investigation.”
The City of Santa Clara hired an independent investigator after Gillmor and Watanabe filed a complaint about the incident. [(Becker) Closure of Investigation]
According to the report, the investigator could not “sustain any of the allegations made by Mayor Gillmor or Council Member Watanabe” against Becker. Further, it found that Becker did not make any “hostile,” “bullying” or “unprofessional” comments to Gillmor during the open session of the meeting or that he threatened her during the closed session. The independent investigation also found no sufficient evidence to support that Becker raised his middle finger toward Watanabe.
The investigator did find that Becker said, “eff off” to Watanabe and that this was “unprofessional.” However, it was “mitigated” by the fact that it was said in a “low tone” and in “response to profanity” directed towards Becker.
Watanabe reportedly said, “I’m sick of your bulls***.”
In previous reports, The Weekly has confirmed from police department records that Gillmor did not call the police to report the Aug. 30 incident. She did, however, call Police Chief Pat Nikolai’s personal cell phone that evening.
City Manager Rajeev Batra called the police during the Aug. 30 Council meeting because someone who appeared to be confused and mentally disturbed was wandering around City Hall late into the evening.
*While the Civil Grand Jury did not release the names of the ten people it interviewed in connection to its report about the Santa Clara City Council, if Gillmor or Watanabe were one of the people interviewed and gave statements about the incident in the closed session similar to what they depicted in the media, they could be charged with a crime. Lying to a Civil Grand Jury is considered perjury.