The AC Transit Board of Directors may formally reprimand board member Joel Young following revelations that he appears to have profited personally from confidential information that he obtained through the agency. Last week, Young issued a written response to an agency investigation of his actions, calling it “reckless and speculative.” He also accused other board members of having “filthy hands.” The rest of the transit board, however, did not appear to be swayed by Young’s response.
In fact, the board directed its general counsel to draft a resolution before its next meeting for some kind of sanction against Young. Board member Chris Peeples asked that the resolution use similar language to a 2000 censure of then-AC Transit board member Nancy Jewell Cross for misuse of public funds. “It bothers me a whole lot that he did this without telling us,” Peeples said of Young.
An AC Transit investigation found that Young violated agency rules, and possibly state law, when he reviewed the agency’s confidential legal files for the purpose of aiding two similar cases he’s working on in his private practice. In addition, Peeples criticized Young for attending closed session meetings discussing a lawsuit between AC Transit and its bus drivers that is very similar to the two cases Young is working on. “That, to me, is absolutely improper,” Peeples said.
Young also may have violated AC Transit rules in his written response to the allegations. The agency’s general counsel, David Wolf, removed a page from Young’s response before distributing it to the public, concluding that it contained confidential information that “could be construed as an admission against the board’s interest.”
“He still doesn’t get it,” board President Greg Harper said of Young.
In his response, Young denied any wrongdoing. He also denied telling interim general counsel Ken Scheidig, who conducted the investigation, that he examined the confidential files with the intent of aiding his private law practice. Young also claimed that Scheidig admitted to him there were factual errors in his investigative report.
Scheidig, however, denied telling Young any such thing. “I have no reason to lie,” he said.
Young also alleged in his response that “certain AC Transit board members come to the dais with filthy hands, and such board members should censure and sanction themselves… .”
But his allegations and denials didn’t appear to help his cause. “I’m not going to take his word on whether he violated something,” said Harper. “I’m going to the word of counsel [Scheidig] because he’s objective.”