The gray money that financed the Santa Clara POA PAC’s 2016 “Letter From Your Mayor” campaign hit pieces was solicited by a committee led by Mayor Lisa Gillmor, the Weekly has learned from multiple sources that were close to the operation who asked for anonymity because they are afraid of retribution from Mayor and her allies.
The committee making the 2016 calls included former Mayor Gary Gillmor, former Council Member Dominic Caserta and Lisa Gillmor’s “kitchen cabinet” advisor Jude Barry.
The recipients of the calls were the California Apartment Association (Lisa Gillmor), Steve Schott Sr./Citation Homes SCS Development (Gary Gillmor), Prometheus (Caserta), Summerhill (Caserta) and De Anza Properties/John Vidovich (Barry).
There was even a script for the calls, according to the Weekly’s sources. It went something like “Lisa controls three votes. She needs the majority. She’s asking for your support. If I was in your position, I’d want to appease the Mayor.”
All of the developers have or have had projects before the Council in the last two years.
Prometheus introduced its first Moonlite Lanes apartment project in early 2017, which was denied, and subsequently returned with a townhouse project that was approved. Prometheus also took over a mixed development project from Irvine on 575 Benton St. in the Old Quad. Irvine withdrew its proposal after repeated redesigns demanded by the City Council that ultimately made the project economically unfeasible, according to Irvine.
Developer Steve Schott Jr. does business as two companies: Citation Homes and SCS Development. SCS Development built the Tuscany apartments on El Camino in 2014, and it currently has a townhouse development starting construction at 1375-1399 El Camino Real, Catalina, which isn’t shown on the list of development projects, although the Environmental Impact Report can be found.
Schott has already donated directly to Gillmor in this year’s campaign.
Summerhill has two Santa Clara projects on the books. The first is its Lawrence Station proposal, which was introduced Nov. 9, 2016. The second is a mixed use project at 2232 El Camino Real, (between Los Padres and McCormick) which was introduced in January 2017. Summerhill is also involved in the El Camino Specific Area Plan.
John Vidovich of DeAnza Properties has one project before the Council: 3402 El Camino, a rebuild of a 60-year-old strip mall that burned down in 2016. Vidovich is a longtime business partner of the Gillmor family and owns property with them. Lisa Gillmor recused herself from the reviews and approvals.
Developers didn’t return repeated phone calls from the Weekly about their 2016 campaign involvement. Neither did the Apartment Association.