Indictment: Gonzales made 'secret and illegal agreement'
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
June 23, 2006
SAN JOSE (BCN) - Santa Clara County prosecutors allege
that San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales received a bribe from Norcal
Waste Systems, but the 19-page indictment naming the company,
Gonzales and his chief aide Joe Guerra contains few details about
the explosive charge.
Most of the indictment, approximately 15 pages, is devoted to
detailing the circumstances behind the two counts of conspiracy
with which Gonzales, Guerra and Norcal are charged.
A scant eight lines, with no details about how Gonzales allegedly
received the bribe or how much it was, are devoted to the bribery
charge against Gonzales.
The allegations contained in the two conspiracy charges largely
mirror the contents of a 2005 Santa Clara County civil grand jury
report that first brought the scandal to public attention. That
report accused Gonzales of making a "backroom deal'' with
Norcal that led to a 9 percent hike in city garbage rates in 2003.
Norcal received a total of $11.25 million in excess of its original
contract proposal as a result of "a secret and illegal agreement
between defendants Gonzales and Norcal,'' according to the indictment.
According to the indictment, Gonzales and Guerra met with Norcal
officials on Oct. 6, 2000 to discuss a Norcal contract proposal
to provide integrated waste services, garbage and recycling collection,
in San Jose.
Some of the Norcal employees who would be working under the contract
were represented at that time by the International Longshore and
At the meeting Gonzales allegedly requested that Norcal instead
use employees represented by the Teamsters, who receive higher
"When told by Norcal that using Teamsters would cost an
estimated two million dollars more per year than originally proposed,
and that Norcal would have to be made whole for this additional
expense, Gonzales suggested that if Norcal made that happen, they
would make Norcal whole,'' according to the indictment.
"This meeting was in furtherance of the conspiracy to cheat
and defraud because from this conversation Norcal understood that
Gonzales was offering to use his official position to persuade
the city of San Jose to pay Norcal an additional estimated two
million dollars per year beyond what Norcal's proposal called
for, as a quid pro quo for Norcal'' using employees represented
by the Teamsters in its San Jose operation.
The indictment lists a total of 25 overt acts that Gonzales,
Guerra and/or Norcal allegedly took in furtherance of the two
In addition to the two charges of conspiracy -- one of "conspiracy
to cheat and defraud'' and one of "conspiracy to commit a
crime'' -- and the bribery charge, Gonzales is also charged with
two counts of falsifying a public record in connection with two
memorandums he submitted to the City Council on Dec. 8, 2000 and
Sept. 16, 2004.
The indictment alleges that both memos contained false statements
because they failed to mention his Dec. 6, 2000 meeting with Norcal
officials and the alleged deal he offered them at the meeting.
Gonzales is also charged with one count of misappropriating public
monies in connection with the extra funds that went to Norcal
above the original contract proposal.
Guerra is charged with the two conspiracy counts and the one
count of misappropriating public monies.
Norcal is charged with the conspiracy counts, one count of bribery
and the misappropriation count.
The indictment was handed down by the Santa Clara County civil
grand jury, which does not normally issue criminal indictments.
The indictment lists 31 witnesses who were examined by the grand
jury including Gonzales, Guerra and six current City Council members:
Nora Campos, Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez, Judy Chirco, David Cortese,
Linda Lezotte and Chuck Reed.
In addition, former City Councilwoman Pat Dando, now the president
of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, City Attorney
Rick Doyle, former City Manager Del Borgsdorf and mayoral spokesman
David Vossbrink were among those called before the grand jury.
Gonzales has said he broke no laws and has no plans to step down,
despite calls for his resignation.
The district attorney's office has not made any comments on the
indictment but will hold a news conference about the matter this
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