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Alameda City Councilwoman Lena Tam get a hug from a supporter at the press conference outside Alameda City Hall in Alameda, Calif. on Tuesday Sept. 7, 2010 announcing that no charges are being filed against her by the Alameda County District Attorney because of lack of factual or legal support. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)

ALAMEDA -- Prosecutors have dropped their investigation into whether City Councilwoman Lena Tam violated the Brown Act by leaking confidential city information and will not refer the case to the grand jury.

"I have been completely exonerated," said Tam, who has maintained the allegations of wrongdoing against her were politically-motivated.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office notified city officials about the decision in a confidential letter on Friday.

Meanwhile, the City Council will meet in closed session Thursday to consider whether to file a civil lawsuit against Tam, who city officials noted was only "tentatively" cleared by the district attorney.

Prosecutors began investigating Tam in July, when an attorney brought in by the interim city manager said Tam leaked confidential information, including to representatives from the company that wanted to redevelop the former Alameda Naval Air Station.

Along with providing information to SunCal Companies while the city was negotiating with the developer over the former base's future, Tam was accused of leaking information to the Alameda firefighters union and of violating the state's open meeting law by using e-mails to influence her fellow City Council members.

The leaks undermined Tam's constituents and exposed the city to liability because some who allegedly received the information were opposing city leaders in private negotiations, such as SunCal representatives, said Michael Colantuono, the outside attorney who city officials hired to investigate Tam.


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"It is plain that the district attorney has not given Councilmember Tam a clean bill of health, but suggests instead that the City pursue other remedies (like a lawsuit) or that the voters solve this problem on Nov. 2," Colantuono said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Tam called for the resignation of Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and an apology from Mayor Beverly Johnson.

She said Gallant put her under scrutiny in an attempt to prevent her from voting and to sway council decisions.

"It's not enough to be cleared," Tam said. "Those who abuse the power must be held accountable."

Tam and Gallant have been frequent political opponents, including on what SunCal has proposed for the former Navy base.

The money that the city earmarked for the investigation into her -- including to hire Colantuono -- could have been used to temporarily pay the rent at the Alameda Museum or extend hours at the Alameda Free Library, Tam said Tuesday.

Along with finding that not enough evidence exists to show Tam violated the Brown Act, prosecutors found insufficient evidence to show either criminal violations or a purposeful failure to carry out her mandatory duties of office, which would have allowed a civil grand jury to consider removing her from office.

Before her election to the council four years ago, Tam served on the Alameda Hospital board and as an Alameda County planning commissioner. She works as a manager in the Water Resources Planning Department of the East Bay Municipal Utility District.