Joel Young

AC TRANSIT | Embattled AC Transit Board Director Joel Young may have further incriminated himself in his written response last week to the allegations detailed in a hard-hitting internal investigation released two weeks ago. The report alleges Young used confidential information found in legal documents and heard in closed session meetings for his personal use as co-counsel for two cases similar to a successful lawsuit filed by bus drivers against AC Transit. 

Young’s seven-page response distributed to the public did not include an omitted eighth page the board’s general counsel, David Wolf, deemed contained closed session information that “could be construed as an admission against the board’s interest.” The board later decided against releasing the page to the public. “He still doesn’t get it,” lamented AC Transit Board President Greg Harper.

Later, Board Director Elsa Ortiz also claimed Young unwittingly released closed session information in another instance contained in his written response. Young’s retort also lodged four unrelated allegations against her and Harper. “If Joel were here, I would say, ‘Is this facts or gossip?’” said Ortiz. “There he is disclosing closed session information about a case that has not been adjudicated. If it’s gossip, it’s irresponsible. If it’s facts, then he is in violation of closed session protection.”

Afterwards, Harper dismissed Young’s allegations against him. “It’s a little bit symptomatic of his style,” said Harper. “Rather than address the issues, he wants to say, ‘I’m not worse than anybody else.’ He counterpunches and he thinks that’s effective and then kind of flails away.”

At the conclusion of the agenda item, Young returned only to be seen chatting and quietly pleading his case at the dais with Ortiz for nearly 20 minutes as the meeting continued. At meetings end, Young then spoke with AC Transit general counsel, David Wolf for an extended period of time as the room emptied. Young could be heard repeatedly telling Wolf the board’s policy as interpreted would not allow him to practice law. Wolf, however, disagreed.

The AC Transit Board of Directors could decide whether to sanction Young for violating various board policies at a meeting later this month. They could also choose to censure Young. The process has not been use by the AC Transit board since 2000 when it approved a resolution to censure former Board Director  Nancy Jewell Cross for misuse of public funds.