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City Sues Nelson Oliva for $3 Million

Oliva’s three daughters are also targeted in the lawsuit.

The City of Hercules is suing former City Manager Nelson Oliva and three of his daughters for $3 million, court records show.

NEO Consulting—the company Oliva founded—was also named as a defendant and possible others.

The complaint, filed Wednesday, stems from Oliva’s alleged financial ties to NEO while serving as Hercules’ assistant city manager and later as city manager. It alleges a breach of fiduciary duties and violation of conflict of interest law.

Hercules City Council hired law firm Bowles & Verna to prosecute Oliva, NEO and others. The council announced its decision to sue after a closed session at Tuesday’s council meeting. The $3 million it seeks is in restitution and punitive and compensatory damages.

Oliva served as Hercules city manager from April 2007 to January 2011, when, under public pressure, he resigned for undisclosed reasons. Before he was city manager, Oliva worked briefly as assistant city manager under Mike Sakamoto. Before that, he headed NEO, a firm that the city contracted with to run its affordable housing program.

He left in January with a severance package that included one year’s pay plus medical benefits and an extended due date for a $250,000 interest-free loan he used to purchase a home in Hercules.

The city is currently withholding part of Oliva’s severance pay.

Hercules Patch will follow up with more details on this lawsuit soon.

joseph Guadagne August 25, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Sal, Annie & John, I was part of the recall, the district I was assigned to collect signatures was my own neighborhood Patrick Tang is my neighbor. Try as I did to get him to participate, he remained above the fray. Although he supported us in spirit, he refused to take an active role. Patrick was not part of the recall! I hope this eases your fears! Perhaps the outspoken gentleman below was who you were thinking about?: tsong Ming 7:59am on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Lee: If you didn't hear the howls of protest years ago you had your head in the sand. The truth is that concerned citizens have raised issues for many years now about the city's contracting processes and misuse of the consent calendar to avoid public discussion of controversial items. Many were aware of the city manager's and council's efforts to bypass the Planning Commission to avoid scrutiny of Oliva's pet projects. Many spoke loudly against the misuse of city funds to benefit NEO.
joseph Guadagne August 25, 2011 at 04:06 PM
If nothing else, suing Nelson is a good first step! It is something our citizens longed for. Even if we win in court, I doubt if we will ever see a dime of any award! But it does say to the world..."fool me once...shame on you.......... we wont get fooled again!" (thank you to George W and the Who for that quote). :)
Susan D.Keeffe August 25, 2011 at 04:17 PM
I want to clarify my statement. I believe all five of our Council are to be commended equally on taking this important step to bring Oliva to justice.
Aazoba Yuzuki August 25, 2011 at 07:55 PM
$3 mil is low
Gail Price September 26, 2011 at 06:14 PM
Three million is modest. Who will pay for the facade building debacle that now sits perched and rotting without financing to finish it? Perhaps Nelson Oliva saved some of that $108.17 per hour that he "earned" over the past ten or so years that he held this position, and one like it, with Hercules. Who approved of this salary? Besides Nelson Oliva? Is there some valid reason why Hercules City Manager would earn more than Malibu's? There's still no ferry, the Market Place has closed, Amtrak sits unfinished, the library is now closed on Sundays, the park and ride is now grossly inconvenient, and the list goes on.

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