Stonelake business owners' letter to Elk Grove Mayor, city council paints unsavory picture of California Northstate's dealings




A letter to the Elk Grove Mayor and City Councilmembers from a multi-location business owner with a location at the city's Stonelake Landing shopping center paints an unflattering picture of the California Northstate Unversity (CNU), the owner of the shopping center. CNU, who is proposing a controversial $900 million hospital on the site of the shopping center, is embroiled in a struggle with current tenants and nearby homeowners over the project.

Matt Weaver, who is a co-owner of Results Transformation Center, posted a comment on social media last week revealing the letter. The letter was obtained from the City of Elk Grove by a public records request.

In his letter, Weaver provided a contrary narrative to CNU's presented at the August 21 special Elk Grove City Council meeting. During public comment at that meeting, CNU's vice president of operations Mike Lee claimed the school is working with current tenants who will be affected as they seek their eviction.

Weaver starts the letter telling the mayor and city council, "the very people who bold face tell you that they are working on outreach have STONEWALLED us."

In his lead-up to discussing the lack of CNU outreach, Weaver, who owns the business with partner Peter Cepeda, noted the detrimental effects the City of Elk Grove's and CNU's joint December announcement had on their business. Weaver, who said he had no inclination of the CNU's plans, said the December announcement sent revenue into a "tailspin" with a 20-percent year-over-year decline.

Weaver noted one contact was from former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and wrote: "Before that time [December 2018 announcement] not a single representative has ever reached out to us proactively. In fact, until this date - that remains 100% correct. (I exclude your former colleague, who introduced himself as the former mayor, not an employee of CNU and boy did he do a poor job of representing both CNU and the city)."

As part of their plans for expansion of their Elk Grove location, Weaver and Cepeda approached the former landlord in 2015 to purchase their building. For business considerations, Weaver and Cepeda dropped that idea but re-engaged with CNU after they took ownership.

Shortly after their December 2018 announcement, a broker told Weaver that CNU was not interested in his offer to lease more adjacent space.

Weaver described the announcement as not only detrimental to the business but devasting to his employees. He said the employees were panicked for the jobs, and yet he "had faith there would be outreach."

Not long after that announcement, Weaver said a coalition of Stonelake Landing business owners approached him about joining their legal efforts against CNU. Weaver declined writing, "I said I would wait and see."

By his account, Weaver said the only outreach in the eight weeks following the announcement was from Davis, who he noted is not a CNU employee. "What followed has been disastrous," he told the city council.

Weaver said Davis misrepresented an informal coffee meeting the two had scheduled. When he conducted the meeting, Weaver said Davis was accompanied by CNU staff and it 'became a 3:1 ambush in my office with Mr. Wagstaffe and their attorney."

Weaver said he proposed expanding his space until the time of demolition - when and if approved, but CNU was not interested.

Weaver, who spoke at least week's special meeting of the Elk Grove City Council, advised the councilmembers interactions between CNU and tenants have been misrepresented.

Outlining the misrepresentations, Weaver said, "What I can tell you today is that we cannot let the CNU team misrepresent what they tell you in chambers. When I make my statements in the future about NO OUTREACH, I want to be able [to] be crystal clear that NEVER ONCE has a CNU employee proactively communicate nor has a SINGLE request I have made to them been responded to without at least 3 attempts on my behalf (even to pay rent)."

Although Lee at one point agreed to lease Weaver and Cepeda 1,200 additional square feet, terms were not reached. Weaver told the difficulty he had reaching Lee and other CNU employees, including Davis, and said last week Lee withdrew the offer.

Throughout the letter, Weaver described how he had acted in good faith only to be ignored or rebuffed by CNU. Weaver noted, "Now, I have every email, every text and I am prepared to make those part of public record too. Because eventually, Mr. Davis will run for some sort of public office, credibility should not be up for debate."

After both he and Lee spoke at last week's meeting (see video of Lee's comments below), Weaver said in the city hall lobby he encountered Lee. Weaver said, "In fact, Mr. Lee and I only met face to face for the first time as he was exiting council chambers. And he said 'So YOU are MATT WEAVER' and took a very hostile and intimidating posture that was witnessed by my business partner, Mr. Peter Cepeda and a total stranger. That total stranger stayed after the meeting to speak with Council Member Nguyen, because while he came to the meeting in favor of the hospital, he now understands the opposition and cannot support in any further. He has offered to come and speak as a witness at the next council meeting."

Weaver closed out his letter to the councilmembers saying he would welcome a meeting with any of them. He noted, "I welcome any of you to an extended discussion to tell your side of the story that isn't limited to the 3-minute rule."

According to the public documents, as of Monday, only councilmember Steve Detrick responded to the email. Detrick thanked Weaver for his comments and said "I will add this to my ongoing evaluation our executive teams evaluation, and this will be added to the records for this item."

Along with Weavers letter, yesterday a leasing agent representing seven Stonelake Landing tenants also pushed back on Lee's and CNU's claims of outreach. That story can be viewed here


Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2019. All right reserved.





 

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2 comments

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Oh how right you are Matt Weaver! Rumor is Gary Davis is going to run for Elk Grove Mayor in 2020 to unseat his ineffective protege, Steve Ly.

Popcorn and beer anyone at Dreaming Dog!

Eye on Elk Grove said...

And I cannot let this one go, Steve Detrick wrote, "I will add this to my ongoing evaluation our executive teams evaluation, and this will be added to the records for this item." What the hell does that mean?

Who is the brightest bulb on the Elk Grove City Council?

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