In my initial response email, I received August 10 from TransparentOakley that I would request the City of Oakley of documents about the subject. A quick reminder that the email made allegations concerning City Manager Bryan Montgomery. It stated Montgomery nefariously allowed the parents of Nancy Marquez-Suarez, Assistant to the City Manager, to purchase residential property owned by the City of Oakley at 538 Malicoat Avenue, Oakley. The date of the sale was in April 2011.
The below information came from the City of Oakley documents under the California Public Records Act. Copies of the papers are at the bottom of the page. The information regarding the loan forgiveness the City Council awarded Montgomery came from East Bay Times newspaper articles. Copies of those articles are also at the bottom of the page.
A summary of the information I was able to determine follows:
First, before going further, the City of Oakley website indicates Nancy Marquez-Suarez began her employment with the City of Oakley in January 2012. Both Mr. Montgomery and Ms. Marquez-Suarez have informed me in the past that Mr. Montgomery was an instructor in Public Administration during the years of 2010 and 2011 at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Ms. Marquez-Suarez was a Public Administration student at SFSU at the same time. Mr. Montgomery and Ms. Marquez-Suarez have informed me in the past, on different occasions, that Ms. Marquez-Suarez was a student in at least one of Mr. Montgomery’s classes.
There is a question I am unable to answer. It is whether Ms. Marquez-Suarez affiliated herself in any manner with the City of Oakley, i.e., intern, student worker, volunteer, or similar position during 2010-2011.
The Oakley Municipal Code does have a provision for disposing of surplus City property. A staff member is to submit a request to have the property declared surplus. The City Manager reviews the request, and if that person approves, the City Council reviews the request.
If approved, the property is sold on the market with a bidding process. The City Manager can set a minimal bid. The property is listed in a published legal notice—a requirement of three minimum bids need submission to sell the property. The property is to go to the highest bidder. Each bidder is to submit a $10,000.00 check to hold the property should that bidder prevail. The $10,000.00 goes toward the purchase of the property.
No City employee may bid on the surplus property.
During October 2010, the City-owned property of 538 Malicoat Avenue became vacant. On October 26, 2010, during the City Council meeting, the property declared surplus property. Ms. Libby Vreonis was unable to locate a staff report to Mr. Montgomery requesting the property to be declared surplus. A staff report to the City Council stated all City policies adhered to in determining the property was surplus.
On November 5, 2010, The Press ran an article stating 538 Malicoat was available for bidding. The minimum bid was $199,000.00. The City obtained no offers for the property. No Legal notice for the sale of the property was found.
Montgomery set a minimum bid of $199,000.00 for the property. No offers were received.
There was a discussion on how to proceed took place with the city staff. The apparent consensus was $199,000.00 was too high of a price for the property, and a realtor should become involved to facilitate the sale. Also discussed was placing the property open for offers at a lower minimum bid.
Montgomery received a letter dated April 6, 2011, a letter from a Rafael and Leonor Marquez stating they would purchase the property for $183,500.00. Marquez would deposit $500.00 if allowed to buy the property. Rafael and Leonor Marquez are the father and mother of Nancy Marquez-Suarez.
Mr. Montgomery suggested that the $183,000.00 seemed to be a fair price for the house. He proposed to save realtor fees in assisting with the sale of the home the City accepts the offer. The staff members present agreed.
On April 12, 2011, the proposal was put forth in front of the City Council for approval. The City Council approved the measure. The minutes for the motion were “brief,” as they were for the other items on the agenda. It is unknown if the council knew that the Marquez were parents of one of Montgomery’s SFSU students. Two current councilmembers, Kevin Romick and Randy Pope were councilmembers at that time and voted aye.
Marquez took possession of the property in July 2011
I did receive a second email from TransparentOakley. A copy of the transmittal is at the bottom of the page. Again, I do not know the members of TransparentOakley. I am not involved with the organization.
I am sending this information to the Contra Costa Grand Jury, asking it to be attached to my previous Grand Jury Investigation request.
I am asking the Grand Jury also to investigate the forgiveness of $366,500.00 of the mortgage that the City of Oakley held for Mr. Montgomery’s private home. The loan forgiveness was done secretly, in closed session. The loan incident occurred during the Summer months of 2011.
The way to stop this behavior is to elect three new councilmembers to the Oakley City Council November 3/
I have attached links to the documents regarding the above information below.
I am hoping the Grand Jury answer these questions but not limited to them:
Whether Nancy Marquez-Suarez was a student in a class taught at SFSU by Montgomery?
Did Nancy Marquez-Suarez have any affiliation with the City of Oakley before January 2012?
Did Montgomery provide information to Nancy Marquez-Suarez that 538 Malicoat Avenue was “on the market” in Oakley?
How did Mr. and Ms. Marquez learn of the property for sale at 538 Malicoat Avenue?
Did either Marquez-Suarez or Montgomery assist Mr. and Ms. Marquez in drafting the letter to the City of Oakley offering to purchase the property?
Did either Marquez-Suarez or Montgomery assist Mr. and Ms. Marquez in determining an offer price for the property at 538 Malicoat Avenue?
Why were Mr. and Ms. Marquez allowed to purchase the property without paying $10,000.00 as specified in the bidding specifications?
Did the City of Oakley collect the $500.00 retainer from the Marquez? If not collected, why?
Has the City of Oakley sold any other surplus property? If so, how was the surplus property sold? What the location of the property? Who took possession of the surplus property?
Was any other person affiliated with SFSU involved in the purchase of surplus property in Oakley?
George Fuller, MPA, MA firstname.lastname@example.org fullerforoakley.net