Thursday, January 18, 2018

San Leandro city manager's accuser calls for his resignation after sexual misconduct allegations

Davis Street Family Resource Center CEO
Rose Padilla Johnson filed a complaint
against San Leandro City Manager Chris
Zapata on Dec. 8.
The CEO of a prominent San Leandro non-profit, who last month issued a complaint accusing City Manager Chris Zapata of sexual misconduct, is now calling for his dismissal.

Rose Padilla Johnson, the CEO of the Davis Street Family Resource Center, a well-known non-profit in San Leandro and the recipient of millions in city grants over the years, says Zapata made a series of improper advances toward her starting just after he was named city manager in 2012 and up until a $1.5 million loan was given by city to the non-profit in 2016.

"Johnson and the non-profit organization today are calling for the immediate resignation of Mr. Zapata or his firing by the San Leandro City Council after the city manager sent a rambling, incoherent 23-page letter to the organization, the city, and local media with strange, misleading and false statements," according to a press release sent Thursday morning by well-known Bay Area public relations guru Sam Singer.

ALSO: San Leandro city manager discloses allegation of sexual misconduct reportedly made against him by local CEO

“It is wrong, it is unacceptable, and it is unconscionable to use a public office to attempt to pressure me or anyone else into having a relationship in exchange for public funds,” said Johnson, in reference to a $1.5 million loan from the city to the non-profit in 2016. The loan was not immediately repaid and Johnson blamed the delay on the slow pace of remittance from the federal government for the non-profit's services.

San Leandro City Manager Chris
Zapata was hired in 2012.
In the statement, Johnson said she wanted to avoid bringing up Zapata's alleged behavior in public, but was forced to do so only after he continued to defame her and the non-profit, along with his own allegations that she was a liar. Johnson says the "final straw" was after Zapata allegedly began calling her the "black widow," a reference she says to her late husband, former Alameda County Fire Chief Bill McCammon, who passed away in 2014.

“I have been a part of this community my whole life. I have been working for twenty-six years at Davis Street to provide healthcare, food, clothing, childcare, and shelter to the less fortunate,” said Johnson. “That’s all I have ever wanted to do. I didn’t want to shine a light on this horrible situation, but I was forced to because it threatened more than me. It threatened my reputation and my ability to help people who really need help.”

In his letter this week, Zapata denied the allegations, but acknowledged his job may be in jeopardy. Zapata's tenure in San Leandro has generally been positive over the years. But the San Leandro City Council has discussed his performance in closed session several times within the past two months. During this period, it was learned this week, the subject was Johnson's official complaint, dated Dec. 8.


  1. Perhaps a good investment in the PR firm's services. Given that the Resource Center is seriously in the hole, maybe lenders of money to pay for the PR firm were betting on her being granted the cannabis license and subsequent cash flow after the current City Manager gets bounced.

    If the CIty Manager did this, it is very wrong. Are we wrong to question why she waited over a year to make her complaint? Maybe up to this point, she was content to keep silent if it meant making it more likely that should would get the cannabis license. Again, it's unfair if she was subjected to this conduct, but was she setting the best example for the beneficiaries of the Resource Center. In addition, does the city want to award a cannabis license of all things to someone who suppressed illegal conduct of the City Manager?

  2. The resource center is not in the hole it has a surplus
    The delay in paying the loan back was due to slower reimbursement from the federal govt
    The spin that Lee Thomas and Zapata came up with on the finances of Davis St lend credibility to Rose Johnson’s claim

  3. Definition of cooking the books: Falsification of accounting records to give a misleading picture of a firm's financial position or the results of its operations. Unlike creative accounting, it is an illegal practice.

  4. The City needs to reopen the application process and investigate what happened here. There are numerous allegations of favoritism and gift giving and other conduct designed to influence the selection process. As much as one sympathizes with Rose Johnson, her compensation, if any, for suffering the conduct should not be a quick award of the cannabis license. She should get it if she is the best applicant. We can't be sure of that in light alleged favoritism, gifts, etc., and this should be put on hold until we get to the bottom of those questions

  5. Sadly, the Resource Center is being dragged into this mess for what will only be a contribution of around $200,000 per year from the cannabis dispensary. The Center can raise that amount in one evening. Johnson (and Galvan) should step down from the Resource Center and just do their cannabis businesses. There is more to this.

  6. There was no spin by Thomas & Zapata...check the DSFRC financials. In additional to the $1.5 they owed the City: "As of June 30, 2015, it is the City’s understanding that DSFRC had other long term debts totaling $2.3 million. These other debts bear interest of 4.5% to 4.9%. One of these debts with Wells Fargo Bank (Bank) requires a debt service coverage ratio of 1.15 to 1. This covenant has not been met and the Bank has decided to take no action against DSFRC, according to Note 8 in its 2015 audit." https://sanleandro.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2770833&GUID=7F6BEB70-6B19-45AA-BDB5-81A64CEC9109&FullText=1
    So have they lowered their long term debt or increased is since 2015? Please Rose, or Board of Directors, let us know.

  7. Anonymous January 18, 2018 at 6:45pm - please explain what you mean by surplus.

  8. Really, resign simply because Rose makes allegations?

  9. Obviously Anonymous is Zapata. However, as a city employee and one who has my own issues, it is intimidating and threatening to have Zapata still lurking in city hall, making it impossible to come forward. We need help. The Mayor is obviously controlled by Zapata and I fear that the Council is totally helpless to do the right thing. At the very least he should be put on administrative leave so as to allow for a completely impartial investigation and allow those of us who may wish to speak up to do so.

  10. Fine, investigate Zapata, but don't take the risk of awarding a marijuana license in the meantime to someone, by her own admission, apparently, suppressed illegal conduct. If you suspend Zapata, don't let that just clear the path for the applicant. She could have brought this up a long time ago and should not be heard to complain if it causes a delay in licensure while everything gets sorted out.

  11. The license has already been issued, Nothing can be done by all the Davis Street haters posting here.
    Read the comment by city staffer at 2:24
    Zapata is hated by staff including top cops. his only allies are the mayor and Lee Thomas, both of whom should not run for re election
    Zapata should be suspended until the investigation is over and should probably just resign now since he has been a disaster

    1. But Mr. Tavares reports that "final approval of the conditional-use permit still pending", so I don't think it is a simple matter of "Davis Street haters".

  12. If Zapata is proven to be guilty, we can assume the consequences for him will be steep, and well-deserved.

    But to better expand our perspective on the matter, what are the consequences for Rose if she's proven to be lying with malicious intent for these current allegations? Is she willing to stoically accept the consequences of destroying a person's life-earned reputation and legacy?

    The truth will surface, and we will all be watching.