City attorney releases emails and documents to SN&R

More than 16 months after former SN&R contributing editor Cosmo Garvin filed a Public Records Request and just over a year after Kevin Johnson sued SN&R and the city of Sacramento to block their release, 70 emails and documents were finally released today.

The move came 10 days after judge ruled the documents were not protected by attorney-client privilege and must be released. The documents were released on a CD and the files included four blank documents for a total of 74 files in all.

The emails between Johnson, city staff and other associates detail the mayor’s attempt to force out leaders of the National Conference of Black Mayors and date as far back as June 2013. Some of the information remains redacted, pursuant to the court order.

Many of the emails were sent using Johnson’s OMKJ (Office of Kevin Johnson) Gmail account and some bear a letterhead that reads “Office of the Mayor: The City That Works for Everyone.” While the letterhead may seem official, however, it is not the City of Sacramento’s.

The messages and documents here connect the dots on Johnson’s attempt to stage a takeover of the NCBM and include some messages and documents directly from the NCBM.

One document, dated July 8, 2013, for example, was sent to the judge in a dispute between the NCBM and Johnson. The letter, on NCBM letterhead, described itself as “representing the majority of the Board of Directors for the National Conference of Black Mayors” and contested Johnson’s claim that he had been properly elected as president of that organization:

“Despite failing to meet certain requirements such as the proper formation of a Nominating Committee, holding a secret vote, and ensuring that all voting parties were members in good standing, Mayor Johnson claimed he was properly elected. This is not true.”

REL0000003191.0001 .pdf by Rachel Leibrock on Scribd



The judge eventually ruled in Johnson’s favor.

Meanwhile, a September 13 email from Johnson to the email address “”,  detailed the mayor’s attempt to oust NCBM executive director Vanessa Williams with Johnson writing “we are cautiously optimistic that there will be an agreed upon settlement in the near future” in regards to William’s “possible … resignation.”

In addition, the documents contain meeting agendas and a list of possible replacements for Williams’ position.

Other documents point to external dissatisfaction with Johnson’s legal firm Ballard Spar.

A July 10, 2013 email chain revealed that Williams tried to deny access to Ballard Spahr because “the Board of Directors has not approved the use of Ballard Spahr, nor has it given the authority of the board to the said special task force per the request of the Board of Directors.”

In an interview the Sacramento Bee today, Johnson’s spokeswoman Crystal Strait explained that the mayor fought to keep the documents hidden for more than a year because of ongoing legal entanglements  and on the advice of his legal counsel.

Read the entirety of the emails and documents at

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