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Milestones (OPINION)

If you have been a resident of Santa Clara for a while, you may recall the famous Grand Jury investigation and audit requested by Lisa Gillmor.

No, not the 2016 stadium audit or the 2016 Grand Jury report.

This is the investigation by the Grand Jury and audit done at Gillmor’s request of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce in 1994.


In a recent trip to the archives, the Weekly discovered some facts of interest.

Lisa Gillmor was running for Mayor in 1994 against Judy Nadler.

Gillmor was attacking the Chamber of Commerce and its long-time director Betty Hangs.  Gillmor was alleging embezzlement of funds by Hangs from the City funded Convention Center.

Gillmor was even successful at convincing the Council to spend $100,000 for an audit that would prove her allegations.

And the results were?

You guessed it. Nothing!

There was no wrongdoing found by the Grand Jury. In fact, just the opposite. The Grand Jury was rather complimentary of the Chamber of Commerce and the job they were doing in managing the Convention Center.

Nadler won the Mayoral race against Gillmor, who then left the Council in 1996.

In 2014 Gillmor was appointed to Council again and in 2016 appointed as Mayor upon Jamie Matthews abrupt departure. Once again, she was in position to pick up where she left off in 1996.

Two years ago, it was the San Francisco 49ers who were under the audit microscope.

Pointing to the 2016 Grand Jury report which suggested a stadium audit might be done, Mayor Gillmor demanded it had to be done.

Does this sound like Déjà vu all over again?

Maybe politically it was clever since she made it a cornerstone of the 2016 campaign.

This time the Council spent $180,000 of taxpayer’s money to arrive at the same result.

Again, nothing. But this time the results came in after the election.

The auditors did find a few errors the City made in billing that netted about $10,000. Net cost to taxpayers: $170,000.

It just seems that Gillmor has a need to find some agency, corporation or business to be a target patsy during election campaigns.

It is possible, this election year, it may be time to again attack the Chamber of Commerce?

The Chamber still manages the Convention Center and the Convention Visitors Bureau.

However, the Chamber does something a little different in Santa Clara than most cities.

The Chamber of Commerce, as managers for the Convention Center, makes a profit for the City!

Holy Toledo Andy!

How is the Mayor going to criticize a cash cow?

The stadium is also a cash cow and that didn’t stop her from wasting your $170,000.

The Mayor and Council made another bad decision at last week’s Council meeting. They voted to suspend the management fee for the Chamber of Commerce. They alleged the Chamber was not authorized to receive it, even after 29 years of payments.

However, the City’s own records show on April 6, 2017 this management fee was known and approved by the City Finance Committee, the City Manager and later approved by this very Council.

When you are grasping at election straws, any controversy is a subtle diversion.

Diversion to direct attention away from this Mayor and her Council majority’s bad decisions.


Correction: In this Milestones, it was stated that the Santa Clara City Council voted in favor of a Lisa Gillmor-proposed $100,000 convention center audit in 1992. The Council initially approved the audit, but on a second vote Council Member Tim Jeffries cast a deciding vote against it. 


1 Comment
  1. TheGoodShipSantaClara 6 years ago

    As a helpful suggestion the story would be bolstered by linking to copies of the records cited. Such as: the record of April 6, 2017 that is cited. Anyone writing on the internet should make this standard practice.

    I thought SCW had earlier done a story on how the Convention Center is losing money because it’s not been updated and maintained over the years by the Chamber.

    Audits are a sound business practice and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It is becoming standard practice for service contracts of vendors (my clients) to the largest corporations to require that they must open themselves to possible audit to confirm records on which billing was based. I would find it lax administration to not do an audit periodically when public land and bonding credit are being put to private benefit no matter how much of a Niners fan I am.

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