Document Dump Reveals Backroom Deals between Google & Local Governments

Friday, February 15, 2019

Hey Google, be a good neighbor in San Jose

For Immediate Release:


OAKLAND, CA (February 15, 2019) -- Today The Partnership for Working Families and its San Jose affiliate, Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA), released documents obtained through public records requests revealing that Google has a longstanding pattern of negotiating backroom development deals with cities and counties across the country while using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), confidentiality provisions, and front companies to hide important aspects of these deals from the public. Google has been on a real estate development spree that has facilitated the expansion of both its office and data center footprint.

“What we are seeing in these documents is a pattern of secrecy and an evasion of accountability,” said Mariah Montgomery, Campaign Director at The Partnership for Working Families. “Google’s use of NDAs and front companies has kept the public, and in some cases, even government officials, in the dark about the true nature of these deals.”

The public records obtained by the Partnership and WPUSA reveal that in multiple localities where the construction of Google data centers was under negotiation, Google and affiliated companies entered into agreements requiring local governments to conceal information from the public about the expected impact on public resources, including through the use of public water and sewer facilities. Experts report that a 200,000 square foot data center uses upward of one million gallons of water per day.

The City of San Jose, California is currently being sued because city officials signed legally questionable NDAs with Google and the City refused to disclose critical public records while negotiating the sale of huge swaths of public land to the company  for a new mega-campus.

“Here in San Jose, we have a housing and homelessness crisis that will be impacted by this development deal,” said Maria Noel Fernandez, deputy director of Working Partnerships USA. “This city is our home, and we have a right to know what Google is hiding. The public deserves better than a backroom deal.”

The Partnership for Working Families sent public records requests to 9 localities* in October 2018 and received responsive documents from the following localities:

Boulder, Colorado Download documents

Clarksville, Tennessee Download documents

Council Bluffs, Iowa Download documents

Lenoir, North Carolina Download documents

Midlothian, Texas Download documents
Pryor Creek & Mayes County, Oklahoma Download documents

San Jose, California Download documents

Palo Alto, California Download documents

*In Lithia, Georgia, we were told there were no responsive documents, and in the Dalles, Oregon, the request is still in process. 

Media Contacts:
Heather Appel, The Partnership for Working Families, heather@forworkingfamilies.org, 917.533.4796
Liam Kelly, Working Partnerships USA, liam@wpusa.org, 805.895.8143

 

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