Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water) Director Rebecca Eisenberg on Saturday denied theft allegations made a week earlier by Valley Water CEO Rick Callender, and leveled her own new accusations against the water district – that it had lied to secure $100 million in federal loans, redirected all of her official emails to the former board chair and recently sent a staffer to her home late one night to hand her investigative documents.
“Serving as an official who was elected to oversee a highly corrupt agency is a lot of fun – I never know what to expect,” she wrote Feb.10 in one of three posts in Medium, an online site for bloggers.
In the post, Eisenberg provided no evidence for her accusations that the water district lied on federal loan applications, except to tease, “In a series of posts, I will start to show you some of the things I have uncovered.”
She did provide information that appeared to back up her claim that all of her official emails had for the past year been redirected to former board chair John Varela.
The most recent dust-up occurred earlier this month, when, in a Feb. 2 memo to Nai Hsueh, current Valley Water chair, and vice chair Richard Santos, Callender offered evidence that he said confirmed that Eisenberg illegally took documents on Jan. 29 from a locked water district conference room.
Callendar said in his memo that Eisenberg had been reviewing some 2,000 pages of documents related to allegations by Callender in January 2023 that the Palo Alto attorney had discriminated against male Valley Water staff and insulted water district officials.
Eisenberg said last year that Callender’s 2023 investigation was in retaliation for her raising concerns of rampant sexism at the water district.
In one of her Feb. 10 blog posts, Eisenberg rejected Callendar’s characterization of her actions on Jan. 29, 2024, as theft. She said she would be sending the blog in the form of a letter to the public, her board colleagues and Callender.
In it she defended her actions on Jan. 29, which instigated Callender’s latest escalation of his year-long dispute with the director, one of seven elected officials of the water district.
“I had told the clerk [on Jan. 29] I would be taking home this printout and that she should make another copy when she had time,” Eisenberg wrote. “I took it in broad daylight through the front door.”
“I kept this under lock and key in a secure location at my home,” she wrote. “I did not read it, nor did I share it with anyone, including not even my attorney, even though I have the right to do so under law (but is being denied that right by the district).”
“At no time after taking home the printout did anyone at the district contact me to ask for it back,” she wrote. “I had no ability to know that the district considered this theft, because they have the digital file and the clerk had told me that she had the ability to make…other printouts.”
“Even though I need the printout and am entitled to the printout, I was prepared to return it, in order to stop the harassment of my family,” Eisenberg wrote.
She said a late night visit to her home by a district employee on Feb.7 was “a disturbing incident.”
”The materials could have been sent by email rather than hand-delivered late at night after both of my children were sleeping….The district representative came to my home and knowingly harassed my family,” she wrote. She said the man rang her doorbell for 10 minutes.
“It is one thing to go after an elected official,” she wrote. “ It is an entire other matter to come to her house at night to intentionally harm a director’s children. Whatever you believe I may have done — all of which I deny and would have denied had anyone from the district or any of my colleagues contacted me- nothing justifies the intentional abuse of an elected official’s family members.”
She asked her board colleagues to investigate the investigation of her actions, “especially after learning that the investigation against me cost ratepayers $600,000.”
In the open letter to her water district colleagues, she asked them to apologize. “Please do not contact my children directly to apologize and please do not come to my home to harass them ever again.
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 is a Phi Beta Kappa Stanford and Harvard Law School graduate who operates a boutique law firm, Private Client Legal Services (PCLS), focusing on employment agreements and other transactions that involve private company stock.