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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Emeryville Mayor's Vote Exposes Conflict of Interest

Mayor Brinkman Refuses to Reveal Conflict
Material Interest Concealed

Emeryville's Mayor Kurt Brinkman misrepresented himself and may have run afoul of the law Tuesday night as he voted to require automatic fire extinguishing sprinkler systems in certain new and existing structures in Emeryville without notifying the City Attorney that his company, Intrepid Electronics, is in the business of fire sprinkler alarm installation in town.  Mr Brinkman, as Intrepid's CEO, has material interest in fire sprinkler alarm installation and he stands to profit from his vote, contrary to his denial at Tuesday's Council meeting.

City Council members are required to notify the City Attorney if there is a possible conflict of interest such as this and recuse themselves by declining to vote if the vote could conceivably net the Council member financial benefit.  Usually, city attorneys rule on the side of recusal if the vote is questionable or if there is even possible public perception of a conflict of interest.

Mayor Brinkman told a citizen at the meeting that he did not need to recuse himself because he is not in the fire sprinkler alarm business, a false statement according to his company's own website.  A phone call to Intrepid confirmed this, "Fire sprinkler alarms?  That's what we do" said 'Cody', an employee.

Mr Brinkman's vote, together with his colleagues, now makes it a requirement that new structures over 3000 square feet in Emeryville must be fitted with fire sprinklers (with alarms) and even with existing buildings, including single family detached homes and condos, if there is a renovation with an increase in value in excess of 50% of the replacement cost of the house or unit.

The mayor's company had previously been headquartered in Emeryville but he has subsequently moved to Oakland.  Intrepid continues to get a lot of Emeryville contracts according to the employee Cody.  Mayor Brinkman refused to comment to the Tattler other than to continue to allege his company doesn't install fire sprinkler alarms.

U-Tube video courtesy of the Emeryville Property Owners Association


  1. This revelation deserves a Pulitzer Prize for Emeryville Journalism. Well done!
    But, it is likely the tip of an Emeryville iceberg that is infested with greed, pretentious
    egos, and incompetence. Taxpayers of Emeryville are being played, and it is expensive.

  2. If you check Intrepid's website, some of its clients are or were Novartis, Bay Street, Ex'pression and Pixar.

    This has been a well known fact since Mr. Brinkman entered politics in Emeryville. He was first appointed (not elected) to the School Board. When that term expired he ran for election and won. He maintained that he lived above his business at 4377 Adeline.

    When questioned about his residency, then Supt. John Sugiyama said "Neither the Superintendent, nor the School Board itself, has the power or authority to determine whether an individual member of the School Board continues to meet the qualifications for office (including residency in the District.) As an aside, however, I would add that I personally asked Mr. Brinkman whether he lived at and was registered to vote at an address within the Emery Unified School District boundaries. He answered yes to both. I believe based upon his responses to my questions, that he is, in fact a resident of Emeryville and therefore legally entitled to serve on the school board."

    When Mr. Brinkman ran for City Council in 2009, he posed on the front porch of a home he owned on 62nd Street. This house stood vacant for many months and was vacant when the photograph was taken. In fact, he did not move into this house until mid-January, AFTER the election.

  3. Brian, it is very ironic you didn't put "Intrepid continues to get a lot of Emeryville contracts according to the employee Cody." is quotations in your article above...because I NEVER SAID THAT!!!!!

    1. This isn't ironic. I paraphrased you. You indicated that Intrepid does a lot of work in Emeryville but I didn't write down the actual quote (it was mixed in with off topic stuff) so that's why I paraphrased. The Intrepid website notes the company has the Bay Street Mall and the Novartis contracts. Are you now saying Intrepid doesn't do work in Emeryville?

  4. This stinks to high heaven. Kurt should know better and stop being a pompous ass. Whether there is a conflict of interest or not there is clearly a possible public perception and he doesn't get to decide whether it should matter to the people or not; you know the people he's supposed to represent and work for. Clearly he doesn't give two hoots about how they feel or how it is perceived and he made clear that he's going to do what he damn well pleases. Not a very becoming attribute for a supposed city leader. I don't know about anyone else but I'm tired of that bravado from our government.
    Kurt I like you. Please stop being an ass.