Lobbying probe, suicide stalls Concord project

The selection of a developer for a $6 billion reuse project at the Concord Naval Weapons Station is on hold while an investigation into allegations of lobbying is completed, according to city officials.

Due to that investigation as well as the need to hire an interim city attorney, Concord officials are looking at delaying the process until next year.

Former City Attorney Mark Coon, died on Oct. 6 in Walnut Creek of an apparent suicide.

His death prompted the cancellation of an Oct. 15 meeting regarding the two firms competing to redevelop a 5,046-acre site at Concord Naval Weapons Station. It’s the largest mixed-use, transit-oriented community development opportunity in Northern California.

Coon was tasked with reporting on an inquiry into whether there was improper City Council lobbying involving one of the development firms competing for it.

Lennar Urban, one of two firms selected by City Council in April to compete for a master developer slot, was accused in a letter to the city manager by its competitor, Catellus Development Corp., of engaging in lobbying activity.

The September allegations put the selection process on hold, prompting a sudden postponement of a City Council meeting as an investigation was conducted.

A neutral third-party investigator is now completing that inquiry, according to city officials.

As for Coon’s replacement, a City Council agenda noted that a closed-door meeting was held Tuesday to discuss the matter.

City officials said it could be January 2016 or later before the developer selection process is resumed.