A discussion over corporate influence in Milpitas politics took a dark turn last week when a candidate for City Council lobbed a thinly veiled death threat against termed-out Councilman Armando Gomez. “I can assure you once I go after someone I don’t leave them until they are lifeless or in prison,” warned Rajeev Madnawat, a patent attorney and one of eight people running for two open seats on the council. “I have nothing to lose and you have everything to lose. I hope you know what I mean.” Gomez thought he had a pretty good idea what Madnawat meant, so he reported the email to police. After contact with the authorities, Madnawat lightened his tone, emailing Gomez that “of course I didn’t use the word ‘lifeless’ in a physical harm way, as apparent from the email context.” But Madnawat, who has a habit of posting his outrage on Facebook, stands by his message. He told Fly that he’s appalled Gomez, also a San Jose budget director, formed a political action committee funded entirely by developers to support real estate agent Deepak Lalwani and daycare provider Marsha Grilli in the council race, especially when some of those developers have high-stakes projects making their way through City Hall. To date, the committee has collected $35,500 total from companies like the Newport Beach-based Integral Communities and Lyon Management Group Inc., as well as Santa Clara real estate investor John Previte. On Oct. 7, Integral Communities, whose 1,500-unit housing project in Milpitas was approved before being delayed, complained about the hold-up before Gomez introduced a motion to help move the project forward. The incident convinced Madnawat that there’s something screwy going on. “No conflict of interest? This is a molestation of our democracy,” he told Fly. “Money speaks. If this is not stopped, the demise of democracy is not too far.” Gomez countered: “If he has a problem with corporate contributions, then he needs to change the constitution.”
Below is the full email:
On Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 8:41 PM, Rajeev Madnawat wrote:
I saw you called me a while ago. Is there something I can do for you? Do yo need help with the dirty money that you are bringing in to help Marsha and Lalwani? $35500 so far to buy your replacements. Its a shame.
Just so you know, I have tried to restrain myself from going against you. If you want to ever come back to Milpitas as an elected representative and if you have any brain, you will think hard about what you are doing. Let me tell you something about me. I also know the some of the same developers that you know, if not all. And let me also tell you that when it comes to their business interest, they will not think twice before they throw you in the sewer. I will not let you go scott free after what you have done. There is still time for you to pull out of what you are doing. I can assure you once I go after someone I don’t leave them until they are lifeless or in prison. I have nothing to lose and you have everything to lose. I hope you know what I mean. Don’t take my niceties for granted. Trust me, it is not rocket science to discover what you have been upto.
Thanks for your audience.
Attorney at Law
1578 Centre Pointe Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035