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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.

Sal August 25, 2011 at 04:13 AM
I guess a lot for the new Attorney Patrick Tang to dive into. By the way, this isn't the same Patrick Tang that was rallying for the recall and was very outspoken against the former council and for a recall? That guy was Patrick Tsang, not Tang right? I just want to make sure. That would feel awkward after all that we have fought so hard for as citizens right? This can't be the same guy, I mean think about it. After EVERYTHING that we went through, I would really hope that one of the outspoken proponents for the recall, the same guy who helped place the new council into their seats, would not then be appointed by the same council that he help elect! If that is the case then i really don't know what to say, Transparency? Sweetheart Deal (ie buddy to buddy deals)? Fair and honesty?
Annie R. August 25, 2011 at 04:47 AM
I believe it's the same Patrick Tang, Sal. I understand and share your concerns.
John Loudermilk August 25, 2011 at 04:47 AM
You nailed it Sal....
Julian W August 25, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Hats off to the Hercules City Council for doing the right thing--well done! I have no concerns about attorney Tang--a good man.
Phil Simmons August 25, 2011 at 05:34 AM
I was in the recall leadership team. Patrick Tang was not "rallying for the recall". Far from it, though he has been outspoken regarding many city issues for some time. He has alway been careful not to misuse his abilities. Patrick is a concerned citizen and a very experienced municipal attorney. We will be darn lucky to have him working on behalf of our community.
Susan D.Keeffe August 25, 2011 at 06:43 AM
The outspoken person was someone named Tsong who posted. Patrick Tang was not a part of the Recall. He has spoken up from time to time on various issues. The Legal Ad Hoc Committee screened 19 applicants, interviewed 10 and forwarded 4 finalists, in no particular ranking order.The Council then interviewed and made their selection. All applicants were asked the same questions and were ranked independently.I'm confident Patrick will perform ethically and with wisdom. This goes along way to beginning our healing.
Susan D.Keeffe August 25, 2011 at 02:08 PM
Congratulations to our new City Council for taking this important and courageous step! This is wonderful news for those of us hoping for some sort of justice. The damage done to our City by a small group of people is horrendous. This is another step in moving us forward. Our city council, led by Mayor DeVera, is to be commended for taking this action.
Dn August 25, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Read today's T. Lochner article in the CC times for more info. Hercules is stepping to the plate big time. Congratulations Patrick!...
Jeffrey Boore August 25, 2011 at 03:38 PM
I think that anyone who knows Patrick Tang regards him as being honest, capable, experienced, and of high integrity. Patrick played no major role in the recall effort, although I would have no problems with him being city attorney even if he had. Many of us have begged him to consider taking on the role of city attorney long before the recall even began. I happen to know that Patrick does not need this job and does not desire it for any personal or professional reason, but has agreed to take it on out of a sense of civic duty and concern for all of the terrible things that have happened in our town. He deserves our unqualified support and admiration for his sacrifice to take on this difficult role.
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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