San Jose

City of San Jose Sued Over Downtown Development Deal With Google

Two Bay Area nonprofit groups have jointly sued the city of San Jose over its nondisclosure agreement with Google about the company's planned development in downtown near the Diridon Station.

The First Amendment Coalition and Working Partnerships claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the San Jose City Council failed to comply with the state's Opening Meeting Laws, Bloomberg first reported

By signing nondisclosure agreements with the Mountain View-based tech giant, the lawsuit claimed that the city is keeping the public in the dark about the project.

"This Petition seeks to bring sunlight into the process to enable the public to better evaluate the project’s impacts on traffic, affordable housing, displacement and gentrification by obtaining public records shedding light upon what the City and Google did," the petition read.

The suit also claimed that the city of San Jose has had several unlawful closed sessions discussing the potential acquisition by Google of City-owned property in the Diridon Station Area. The petition said the city council has scheduled a vote for Dec. 4 on whether to let the project proceed.

In July, the city had approved a 1 million-square-foot Google office development at 440 West Julian St.

Working Partnerships, San Jose-based community organization, has been vocal about Google's potential impact on traffic, housing and the economy in the city.

"The people of San Jose deserve better than a backroom deal," Working Partnerships' Director of Public Policy Jeffrey Buchanan said.

The City of San Jose and Google did not immediately respond to NBC Bay Area's request for comment.

First Amendment Coalition said it filed a California Public Records Act request on May 14 for details on 14 City Council meetings. But after months of back-and-forth emails, FAC said the city didn't provide "the required justification, including citation to relevant law, for any withholding of documents based on CPRA exemptions."

FAC said the city had not responded to its last supplemental request on Aug. 23 and it has not produced any records since its Aug. 10 letter.

What little records the city provided FAC showed "that the City and Google went to extraordinary lengths to keep the public in the dark and violated the law in so doing," the petition said.

Records showed Google sent City officials nondisclosure agreements with a five-year length, according to the petition.

Working Partnerships is expected to hold a press conference about the suit at 11 a.m. in front of City Hall.

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