Mayor Gonzales’s Grand Jury Testimony Unsealed!

SanJoseInside.com has acquired a previously sealed mayoral grand jury testimony and posted a partial transcript below.
 
The testimony begins with Deputy District Attorney Julius Finkelstein questioning Mayor Ron Gonzales about his role in the Norcal deal.  WARNING: it is shocking, sometimes offensive but mostly sounds like Aaron Sorkin’s movie A Few Good Men.
     

                            FINKELSTEIN
Any chance Norcal misunderstood?

GONZALES
The contract we had just signed?

FINKELSTEIN
Any chance they just ignored you?

GONZALES
No.

FINKELSTEIN
Any chance the Norcal representatives left the meeting
and just said the mayor is senile and we can get more money?

GONZALES
No.

FINKELSTEIN
When Guerra meet with Norcal, any chance he was clear beyond doubt that the contract was a “not-to-exceed” and that the council would never authorize an additional payment, any chance they ignored him?

GONZALES
Mr. Finkelsteiner, have you ever spent time running a council meeting?

FINKELSTEIN
No sir.

GONZALES
Ever made a motion on an issue that was bad for the city, but had it passed unanimously?

FINKELSTEIN
No sir.

GONZALES
Ever put your life in an aide’s hands, ask him to put his life in yours?

FINKELSTEIN
No sir.

GONZALES
Joe follows my orders, son.  He follows orders or votes die, agendas die, grand prix subsidies die and the city is left rudderless.  It’s that simple.  Are we clear?

FINKELSTEIN
Yes mayor.

GONZALES
Are we clear?!

FINKELSTEIN
Crystal.

FINKELSTEIN
Mayor, we have just one more question before I call District Attorney George Kennedy to the podium, If you gave Joe an order to sign Norcal to a ‘not to exceed’ contract, and your orders are always followed, then why would Norcal ask for more money?

And GONZALES has no answer.

Nothing.

He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

GONZALES
Joe Guerra is a sub-standard aide.  He was being fired.

REED
But that’s not what you said.  You said he always followed orders.

GONZALES
Sometimes aides take matters into their own hands.

FINKELSTEIN
No sir.  You made it clear just a moment
ago that your aides never take matters into
their own hands.  Your aides follow orders
“or agendas die.”  So the Norcal deal shouldn’t have
been in any danger at all, right Mayor?

GONZALES
You little bastard.

FINKELSTEIN
If Joe told Norcal that the contract was ‘not to exceed’ then why were they promised more money?

GONZALES is looking at DISTRICT ATTORNEY KENNEDY.

FINKELSTEIN
Mayor?

GONZALES says nothing.

FINKELSTEIN
Joe promised the extra money and said the council vote was in the bag, because that’s what you told him to do.

CITY ATTORNEY
Just a minute!

FINKELSTEIN
And when it went bad, you lashed out at everyone saying the criticism was like a “British tabloid.”
You had Joe court Norcal.  You had him buy Norcal lunch and play golf with them.

CITY ATTORNEY
Damnit!!

FINKELSTEIN
I’ll ask again. You ordered Joe—

GONZALES
You want answers?

FINKELSTEIN
I think we’re entitled to them.

GONZALES
You want answers?!

FINKELSTEIN
We want the truth!

GONZALES
YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

And nobody moves.

GONZALES
(continuing)
Finkelberry, we live in a world that has too many ethics rules, a strong Labor union and many lobbyists looking for favors.  Who’s gonna navigate all of that? You, Finklestern?  I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.  You have briefs to read, closing arguments and judge’s asses to kiss and you spend most of your waking hours coveting George Kennedy’s job.  You have that luxury.  You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Joe’s backroom deal, while unethical, probably saved money.  And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, keeps the Grand Jury busy.
(beat)
You don’t want the truth.  Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about, at poker nights with the boys, you want me on that dais.  You need me on that dais…
(boasting)
We use words like Strangis, Alvarez, DeRollo…we use these words as the backbone to getting things done in San Jose.  You use ‘em as blog fodder.
(beat)
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to the men who get their garbage dumped under the very contract that I negotiated, then questions the manner in which I negotiated it.  I’d prefer you just said thank you and went on your way.  Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a gavel and take the chair.  Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to.

FINKELSTEIN
(quietly)
Did you secretly promise more money to Norcal?

GONZALES
(beat)
I did the job people voted me to do.

FINKELSTEIN
Did you approve the increase in the Norcal contract?

GONZALES
(pause)
You’re goddamn right I did!

Silence from everyone.  They’re all frozen.  FINKELSTEIN is likewise.  GONZALES seems strangely, quietly relieved.  FINKELSTEIN simply takes control of the court now.

CITY ATTORNEY
Will staff please escort the public to the lobby where you’ll wait further instruction.

STAFF MEMBERS begin leading the PUBLIC out of the room.

GONZALES
What the hell’s going on?

No one says anything until the public is out of the room.

GONZALES
(continuing; to City Attorney)
Rick, what the hell’s going on?  I did my job.  I’d do it again.  Now I’m getting on a plane and heading to a League of Cities meeting.

CITY ATTORNEY
Officers, guard the prisoner.

The cops are tentative.  They’ve never heard the mayor referred to as “the prisoner” before.  They have flown all over the world with him, driven his golf carts and guarded him from rabid Christmas shoppers, but they sure as hell have never been asked to guard him.

CITY ATTORNEY
Guard the prisoner.

GONZALES
What the hell-

CITY ATTORNEY
Mayor Gonzales, you have the right to
remain silent.  Any statement you do make
can be used against you in an impeachment hearing or other judicial or administrative proceeding.  You have the right ...

RICK DOYLE continues reading GONZALES his rights, over—

GONZALES
I’m being charged with a crime? I’m—that’s what this is—
(to Councilwoman Cindy Chavez)
Vice Mayor!
(Doyle keeps going)
Councilwoman!!
(Doyle is doing his job.)
I’m being charged with a crime?  I’m-that’s what’s happening?  This—I’m-this is funny, you know that, this is—

And GONZALES lunges at FINKELSTEIN who would be dead but for the three COPS who’ve leapt in to restrain GONZALES.  The rest of the CITYCOUNCIL has come to their feet and stand behind FINKELSTEIN.

GONZALES
(continuing; to Finkelstein)
I’m gonna tear your eyes right outta your
head and piss in your dead skull.  You
messed with the wrong mayor!

RICK DOYLE is done reading GONZALES his rights.

CITY ATTORNEY
Mayor Gonzales, do you understand those
rights as I have just read then to you?

GONZALES
I saved money. The Norcal deal—Guerra, that boy was—a weak link.  I saved money, you hear me?

The council chambers is silent from GONZALES’ outburst.  GONZALES shakes his head.

GONZALES
(continuing)
You freakin’ people.
(beat)
You have no idea how to deal with unions.

GONZALES
(continuing; to Finkelstein)
All you did was weaken a city today, son. That’s all you did.  You put all funding in danger.  Pungent smells, son.

FINKELSTEIN
Don’t call me son.
(beat)
I’m a Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney, and I’ve been working at this job for a lot longer than I can remember.  And you’re under arrest you sonofabitch.

FINKELSTEIN stays on GONZALES a moment longer, then remembers—

FINKELSTEIN
(continuing)
The mayor is excused.  Next order of business?

 

15 Comments

  1. Among the most entertaining bits in the transcripts was the testimony by Pat Dando. I enjoyed the occasions where the attorney was chastizing her for speculating on things she had no knowledge of and had to be reminded she was under oath.

    And the part where she double checked as to whether the testimony would be made public and, if so, when. Gee, Pat, were you planning on doing something that relied on the transcripts not being published for a while?

    Chaves, of course, had nothing to do with it. But, does the Merc bother talking about that? Why not?

  2. Chuck Reed, the phony, who knew more than we think he did, is shown in the transcripts to be innocent as Ron Gonzales.

    He took the tie off, because the war is no longer popular.  Now he urges people to attend the COMPAC Barbecue.

    Rufus Reed, you are are beginning to appear what we know you are

    a phony

  3. Cindy was up to her ears in it.  She wouldn’t have let the Mayor work on those union things without knowing about it.  Love this article.  You should use more movie scripts for your bolgs.  Very, very funny.

  4. John,
      Good, but given the 5th amendment speculation you may have used the wrong movie. It should have been “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”:

    Testimony?
    We don’t have to give you no stinkin’ testimony!!!

  5. More truth than fiction—only difference—there is no crime, just arrogance.

    If arrogance were a crime, Gonzalez would be doing some hard time—but then again so would a lot of others.

  6. I love thinking about Finkelstein being played by Tom Cruise and the Mayor by Jack N.

    Guerra would be played by Kiefer Sutherland.  Ha!

    Rick Doyle could be a Bacon Brother if you squint hard enough. 

    Brilliant.

  7. There must be something in the water lately.  First, in “Land Conservation Initiative Deserves Support”, # 19 admits they have made an incorrect assumption, and after they have been nicely told they were wrong, they say “sorry” to RR and Cindy.  Then, in “Near the Ides of August”,  #42 JMO changes his mind on an issue after some facts are shared with him.  #43 Just the Facts, then shows him some respect for having an open mind.  WOW, civil exchanges of differing opinions, being open to new ideas, being respectful, admitting to making a mistake, and saying they are sorry, what next? 
    I’ll drink to that!

  8. I was intrigued by the Mayor’s comments when he asked Cindy about the proceedings and if this was in fact a criminal investigation. Cindy did not answer the mayor’s question, trying to distance herself from the mayor; what kind of friend is that? Knowing that it was in fact a criminal investigation, yet refusing to acknowledge a simple question for fear of loosing ground on her campaign?

    Mayor Gonzales appointed her Vice Mayor and she doesn’t have the guts to answer a simple question at a time in need from a supposed friend? Where’s Al Ruffo when you need him?

    Mayor Gonzales put his future on the line for the sake of a lot of polititians and friends in an attempt to make San Jose a better place to live; in an election year, this proved to be self distructive.

    I don’t condone what he did. However, if this were not an election year, asside from spending too much on the new city hall, most people would be praising him.

  9. So Mr. Integrity lied to the public when he claimed to have no role in Norcal, or that he was shocked by learning of the deal.

    Turns out that he knew about the deal, and coupled with the new developments we have on his role in asphalt crunching plant scandal during his term, it shows that Mr. Integrity has none.

    Reed and the Asphalt Scandal, details to follow.

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