Santa Clara Family Health Foundation

Judge Orders County to Release Health Foundation Documents

Metro and San Jose Inside scored a legal victory Friday with Judge Carol Overton’s ruling that the County of Santa Clara must release documents on the political activities of the nonprofit Santa Clara Family Health Foundation. The documents, handed over to Metro on Friday, shed new light on how a recent ballot initiative was passed, and how the South Bay Labor Council interacts with local nonprofits to advance its agenda.

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Rules to Look at Renting Space at City Hall, Nonprofit Health Care Investigation

Parts of City Hall, left a bit empty after layoffs and the Redevelopment Agency’s closure, may soon be open to anyone looking to lease a slice of the swanky 18-story downtown centerpiece. Proceeds from the market-rate rents will go right to the city’s general fund, according to a memo going before the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday. Other items include the Pete Constant-Johnny Khamis memo asking the city to investigate how public funds were used to fund a county sales tax measure carried out by organized labor.

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Board of Supervisors to Discuss Funding Nonprofits, Lowering Tax Threshhold

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider granting a fair chunk of change to a nonprofit trying to set itself up as a small business support center. This comes on the heels of greater scrutiny regarding public funds going to entities that are not required to disclose their financial dealings. Also on Tuesday’s agenda, the Board of Supervisors will consider supporting a change to the state Constitution that would lower the percentage of votes needed to raise local taxes.

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Cindy Chavez’s Conflicts of Interest

While on its executive committee, prospective county supervisor candidate Cindy Chavez helped move hundreds of thousands of dollars out of a local health nonprofit, according to copies of board minutes obtained by San Jose Inside. At a pivotal meeting last June, Chavez voted to approve a budget that included a line item in which one of her employers, Working Partnerships USA, had a financial interest—and to fund a political campaign that was largely run by her other employer, the South Bay Labor Council. The two transactions totaled $400,000, more than a quarter of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation’s budget.

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Councilmembers Constant, Khamis Call for Investigation of Health Care Nonprofits

Two members of the San Jose City Council are calling for an investigation into whether city funds were illegally used in local campaigns. Councilmembers Pete Constant and Johnny Khamis are asking the city manager and city attorney to “investigate whether any city funds that were provided to either Santa Clara Family Health Foundation or VMC Foundation were used to fund any campaign activities in any manner,” according to a memo released Thursday. The memo notes that the city has given the foundations more than $6 million in the last three years.

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Nonprofits Funded Labor Council Political Campaigns

Funds from two local non-profit health care foundations made their way to phone banks and mail campaigns of the South Bay Labor Council in 2012 after routing the money through a Measure A’s campaign committee. Both the VMC Foundation and the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation gave more than a quarter-million dollars each—a total of $539,000—to support an 1/8th cent county sales tax measure, Measure A. At least $90,000 of those monies were transferred to the South Bay Labor Council. An incestuous tangle of organizations, directors and consultants characterized the transactions, with common decision-makers on both the giving and receiving ends. None of the organization are willing to discuss how the funds were used and how decisions were made. Former San Jose vice mayor and South Bay Labor Council CEO Cindy Chavez currently heads up the nonprofit SBLC-linked Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA) and sits on the board for the Health Trust and Santa Clara Family Health Foundation.

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