It has been two months since Santa Clara City Attorney Brian Doyle withheld a settlement offer from the new City Council.
That episode alone is appalling. What is even more stunning is that he is still employed by the City.
Doyle’s act was reprehensible. That single action was a personal decision, made on his own, not even giving the City Council the opportunity to see the settlement offer or know its contents.
What we have learned is this. Santa Clara was sued under the California Voting Rights Act and lost. The plaintiffs were awarded a $4 million legal fees settlement. The City’s own legal fees have been an additional $700,000. The settlement letter that attorney Doyle withheld offered to settle the case for $2.8 million.
DOYLE NEVER SHARED THIS LETTER WITH THE COUNCIL.
This is one of the most egregious acts any attorney can commit. He intentionally omitted telling the Council they had an offer of settlement that could have saved the City — his client, whose interests he is supposed to be protecting — over a million dollars plus tens of thousands in additional court costs.
You may recall the old City Council and current Mayor Gillmor ignored three letters of warning from civil rights attorney Robert Rubin. These warning letters clearly specified that Santa Clara must form voting districts that would ensure equal representation for all the City’s residents or the City would be sued for failing to do so.
Mayor Gillmor and the old City Council ignored the warning letters and got sued. The court awarded the plaintiffs $3.2 million in legal fees to be paid for by Santa Clara and, in turn, the residents.
Voters agreed with the court’s ruling in an election early last year voting down Mayor Gillmor’s Measure C. This was a plan to reduce districts to three instead of six as ordered by the court.
It does not matter that attorney Doyle followed in the footsteps of Mayor Gillmor. She ignored the CVRA warning letters and therefore he could ignore the CVRA settlement letter? No! Doyle works for the current City Council and failing to inform the Council of a pending time sensitive offer is a major breach of legal responsibility. Particularly when it comes to a much needed million dollars…plus legal fees.
It does matter that Doyle violated his duty to keep the Council totally informed and there is only one action that makes sense. Terminate his employment with Santa Clara immediately.
What else is he not telling this Council?
Who knows if what he is telling this Council is accurate and timely?
Why is he still here?