Atherton Mayor Kathy McKeithen said this morning (March 26) that she intends to moderate an informal meeting to discuss allegations of improprieties against Councilman Charles Marsala even if a quorum of the council fails to show up at the special City Council meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. today in the council chambers.
The agenda topic is listed as "alleged improper official conduct and allegations that council member Marsala is not a resident of the town."
Three council members, including Mr. Marsala, have indicated they won't be attending the meeting, Ms. McKeithen said, but she and Councilman Jim Dobbie will attend, and will listen to what residents have to say.
The meeting, she said, was being held at the request of residents troubled by the latest town tempest.
Mr. Marsala was accused March 17 of asking resident Jon Buckheit for a $500,000 personal loan last fall. Mr. Buckheit is currently suing the town in federal court over police conduct during a domestic dispute at his house in 2008.
Mr. Marsala also faced questions about his residency in town, as he has been renting his house to a Stanford Hospital patient and her family.
In a prepared statement issued this morning, Mr. Marsala said: "My conduct with regard to Mr. Buckheit, and my vote at the March 17 ... council meeting (against creating a police oversight committee) did not violate any law. ... The city attorney has my permission to release any and all of the texts, photos, emails and personal discussions between me and Mr. Buckheit."
Mr. Marsala said he has turned over to the city attorney, Wynne Furth, "all of my texts, photos, emails, Facebook and Linked In messages, and discussed my personal interactions with Mr. Jon Buckheit dating back to November 11, 2008."
In a separate message sent to The Almanac this morning, Mr. Marsala said that 30 pages of "my texts and emails have been sent to (City Manager) Jerry Gruber, (and) release has been authorized by me for this afternoon."
Mayor McKeithen said that although the meeting this afternoon will be informal if there's no council quorum, "we will ask that (speakers from the public) be respectful. ... We don't want mud being thrown."
She said people should go into the meeting with an open mind, and said she will do so herself. "I don't think it's appropriate at all for me to judge Councilman Marsala," she said. "But the public has a right to know what's going on, and I want to give them the opportunity to tell us what they think."
The council chambers are at 94 Ashfield Road in Atherton.