Note: This includes a corrected date of the surveillance video.
Valley Water CEO Rick Callender has asked San Jose Police and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to investigate water board Director Rebecca Eisenberg for possible criminal charges in connection with the removal of confidential water district documents earlier this month.
In a 12-page memo to Nai Hsueh, chair of the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water), and vice chair Richard Santos, Callender offered evidence that he said confirmed that Eisenberg illegally took documents on Jan. 29 from a locked conference room where she had been reviewing some 2,000 pages of documents related to allegations by Callender in January 2023 that she had discriminated against male Valley Water staff and insulted water district officials.
Eisenberg said last year that the investigation was in retaliation for her raising concerns of rampant sexism at the water district.
Callender recommended in the Feb. 2, 2024 memo that the full water board discuss Eisenberg’s actions at its Feb. 13 meeting “and take appropriate action,” including possible sanction or censure against Eisenberg, one of seven elected members.
Callender attached to his memo two images from a Jan. 29, 2024 security cam footage showing a woman – who he said was Eisenberg – walking out of the water district building carrying an armload of papers, then loading them in the back of a green Mini Cooper.
He also attached four video clips from surveillance cameras that shows her arriving at the office then leaving nearly three hours later “with an excessively large amount of paper which she needs both arms to secure.” He also added a map of the building, showing the location of the conference room and entrance.
“I am not aware of the full contents of the documents which Director Eisenberg likely has in her possession, but I believe it to be the full investigative report, which includes the names of witnesses, their full and unredacted statements, and other personal information which will cause a severe chilling effect on any potential witnesses to illegal, discriminatory or harassing behavior that may occur at Valley Water,” Callender wrote in the memo. “If an employee had engaged in the behaviors which are likely to have occurred, they would be placed on immediate administrative leave and be subjected to disciplinary actions, including potential dismissal.”
The confidential report was submitted to the water district after a nearly one-year investigation by an outside attorney, Samantha Zutler. It was made available on Jan. 29 to the board of directors, on the condition they read it in a locked conference room. The board was to make only one copy of the document, and could not remove it or send any electronic copy because of its confidential nature.
Callender said Eisenberg on Jan. 29 demanded to see the document immediately and “began yelling and being verbally abusive” to board clerk Michele King. After reading the report in the conference room for less than 20 minutes, Challenger said King emailed Zutler and told Hsueh that Eisenberg had ignored her guidance and carried the documents out of the building.
“The report and Director Eisenberg were gone and only three binder clips remained on the table,” Callender said he was told by King. “She said the report was large which she described as close to 2,000 pages, so it was easy to see it was gone.”
In the memo, Callender said that while Assistant Officer Candice Kwok-Smith did not see Eisenberg walk out with the documents, she believed she took them because the table was emply when Eisenberg left.
Eisenberg was elected to the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board in 2022 and represents District 7 which includes the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, the Town of Los Altos Hills, the Town of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and parts of South San Jose.
Eisenberg operates a boutique law firm, Private Client Legal Services (PCLS), focusing on employment agreements and other transactions that involve private company stock.