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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Former Emeryville City Attorney Now Works for City's Adversaries

Rotating Door at City Attorney's Office

Emeryville's former city attorney Mike Biddle is now employed by the private law firm Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP, the same firm hired by countless Emeryville developers and businesses over the years to push Emeryville projects that Mr Biddle ostensibly battled in the people's interest while he was employed at City Hall the Tattler has learned.   Mr Biddle was forced out of his city attorney job last April and he still collects severance pay from Emeryville's taxpayers in addition to his pension from the City.  The switch by the former City Attorney to the firm he previously fought against illustrates the sometimes chummy nature of would be adversarial attorneys interacting in the private sector and public sector.   Mr Biddle's switching sides upon retirement is analogous to the infamous congressional rotating door that sends retiring former Congress members into the same lobbying firms they ostensibly did battle against while doing the people's work.

Chummy perhaps but while Mr Biddle still worked for the City, Burke, Williams & Sorensen was hired to fight the City by Pixar, the East Bay Bridge project, Bay Street Mall developer Madison Marquette and others and his new partnership position at the shop of his former would be nemesis have caused some in town to question Mr Biddle's loyalty to the people's business says former City Councilman Ken Bukowski.  Mr Bukowski headed up an unsuccessful ballot initiative, Measure F in 2011 to fire Mr Biddle for among other things, a reported lack of fealty to the City.
Mr Biddle's fealty had been questioned before as he had much interaction with Burke Williams & Sorensen while he still worked for the City of Emeryville, most infamously when he hired them (at taxpayer expense) to help him fight the City Council in May 2014 as they attempted to get him to write language for a charter city ballot initiative, a job he had refused to do.  Mr Biddle also hired BW&S in 2011 (again at taxpayers expense) to help him fight off the Measure F initiative meant
to fire him.

Mr Biddle is still working for City Hall even after his retirement and independent of BW&S as a paid contractor and he has been retained by the City for work on the contentious Public Market project.
Mr Biddle could not be reached for comment on his new employment situation.


  1. This isn't news. It's what is expected. You're acting all shocked as if it's incredible there's a sleazy lawyer. Come on Tattler!

  2. This is a great story, Brian. Stay with it. It looks like Mr. Biddle feeds at a trough that is not in the best interests of Emeryville Taxpayers. His activities deserve examination.

  3. Good reporting lately Brian. Keep up the good work.

    Michael Webber