Tony Spitaleri, mayor of Sunnyvale, California, solicited and received money from the real estate developer that negotiated an agreement to build a 30+ acre project in the city’s downtown.
Spitaleri voted to approve an unusual development agreement, in which the developer/Spitaleri’s donor was excused from the standard requirement of purchasing and posting an overall performance bond. [Such a bond is a guarantee from a third-party (usually a bank or an insurance company) that money needed to complete a specified project will be paid if the contractor fails to fully perform.]
When residents complained, Spitaleri repeatedly denied that he had taken the money. However, California campaign documents showed the payment and a photograph of Spitaleri posing with the developer at Spitaleri’s fundraiser was produced.
Spitaleri made the intentionally false denials because he knew it was wrong to take the developer’s money. That developer/ Spitaleri’s donor delayed and then walked away from Sunnyvale’s downtown project, wanting to bid in the subsequent foreclosure procedure, pennies on the dollar for the city’s downtown land.
Spitaleri is now blocking legal action by the city to acquire title to the downtown property, saying he wants to maintain amicable relations with the parties, one of whom is his donor.