Resident: Councilman asked for $500,000 loan


A man who is suing Atherton in federal court said that Atherton Councilman Charles Marsala asked him for a $500,000 personal loan shortly before he filed his lawsuit.

Jon Buckheit, an Atherton resident, is advocating the creation of a police oversight board. When that idea was tabled at the Wednesday, March 17, Atherton City Council meeting, he protested the vote during a public comment. "Charles, when you came to me asking to borrow money, you had a very different view than you do today," Mr. Buckheit said.

Mr. Marsala told The Almanac he could not comment. "I spoke with the city attorney and I've been advised not to talk about it because we're in litigation with (Mr. Buckheit)," he said. "I'm comfortable with my vote on Wednesday night. I voted with the majority of the council … and I explained my reasons."

Mr. Buckheit said that in late September, Mr. Marsala asked him for a $500,000 "hard money" loan against equity in his Atherton house. Mr. Buckheit said the size of the sum gave him pause, but that he considered an arrangement that would make him one of several investors in the loan to Mr. Marsala.

"It didn't pan out," Mr. Buckheit said.

In October, Mr. Buckheit filed a lawsuit against the town and two of its police officers over the handling of a domestic dispute at his house in 2008. Mr. Buckheit was arrested on domestic violence charges, but he was later exonerated by a San Mateo County Superior Court judge and granted a declaration of factual innocence. In October, he filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco.

The vote to table any further discussion of creating a police oversight committee was 4-1, with Mayor Kathy McKeithen opposed. At the meeting, Mr. Marsala said he was concerned that a small town like Atherton would have trouble finding enough citizens willing to serve on an oversight committee, and that leaks of confidential information regarding police officers could be a problem.

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Like this comment
Posted by True Blue
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 21, 2010 at 12:37 am

Has it really come to this.
I attended Mr. Buckheit's Factual Innocence Hearing at the county court house last fall.
In 2008 he dialed 911 to bring the Police to HIS home for assistance over a bad break up that was escalating beyond his control.
The officers arrested Mr. Buckheit (the home owner), who they found bleeding and waiting for them at the front door-Instead of help, he got the hand cuffs, jail, bail...all of that.
They wouldn't let him back into his house for a week.
APD wouldn't give him a copy of his police report (a public record and basic constitutional right. He has to sue to get a copy (one year and a lot of money) He wins the suit.
With his police report finally in hand and for even more time and money-he pursues a very RARE hearing for Factual Innocence, which he also wins in full from the judge ( this was the forth such Finding in the entire history of San Mateo County!! The judge states that he is "deeply disturbed" by the APD's behavior.
In the coarse of hearing- officers testify that the police report has been altered--no night desk sergeant was even on duty that night name it......
The City Manager refuses to take Buckheit's calls- or to meet with him. The City Attorney's excuse is that she is waiting for ABAG to tell what to do.
Frustrated and desperate, our new neighbor Buckheit decides that while he is waiting for
the new city "ADMINISTRATORS LEARNING CURVE" to develop Maybe he should talk to someone on the Town Council.
While councilman Marsala is deeply concerned about Jon Buckheit's plight,he is experiencing difficulties of his own--a problem that 500,000 would resolve and make Charles more available to focus on service to his community.
Even if you are not wondering if this whole thing might have been planned as a shakedown,
Does any one really believe that Charles would have paid the money back?
I have a couple of three dollar bills that Charles can keep forever.

Like this comment
Posted by Disgusting, reprehensible, awful...
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 21, 2010 at 12:59 am

The article in the Daily News was much better, and had the emails. I just saw a TV commercial indicating Rod Balgojevich will be on Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump. If Marsala resigns now, they might be able to fit him in. How does stuff like this happen? What a piece of work!

Like this comment
Posted by spectator
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 21, 2010 at 9:39 am

[This post was removed because we cannot presume guilt and state that someone is guilty of a crime when there have been no charges filed, trial held, or conviction rendered. Please send any relevant information to The Almanac at]

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Mar 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

We need mr. Carpenter to save the day ! We don't need a police oversight committee, we need a whole town of Atherton over sight
committee..Maybe we should annex with another community ! I cannot believe that a small town like Atherton has big city problems, LA &
NYC can't touch us.

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