S.J. Mayor Lawyers Up Over Trash Scandal

San Jose’s sticky trash fiasco just got a little more interesting.

Hours after Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy issued a statement saying he would be working with the civil grand jury on the Norcal Waste Systems scandal, Mayor Ron Gonzales announced he had retained prominent Silicon Valley attorney Allen Ruby.

Although no one’s saying it, it sure does look like Gonzales is running scared. Why else retain a high-powered lawyer like Ruby unless you thought you were going to get hauled into court for cutting a secret $11.25 million deal with the city’s trash haulers?

Retaining an attorney is a wise move for the mayor, said San Jose City Council member David Cortese, adding he suspects that an accusation for the grand jury is imminent.

“This is a logical next step,? the councilman said Monday afternoon.

Cortese — a mayoral candidate and former criminal defense attorney — sent a formal letter to the county grand jury earlier this month, requesting it issue an accusation against Gonzales, who is being termed out of office next year. Cortese also sent a letter to Kennedy, asking the retiring DA to launch his own criminal probe.

Kennedy declined further comment, saying that “because of the confidential nature of grand jury investigations, I cannot discuss the details of any investigation at this time.?

Kennedy’s office ousted Mountain View Mayor Mario Ambra from office in 2002 for bullying city staffers.

— Julie O’Shea


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