CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – The currently suspended Cupertino city attorney filed a claim with the city Monday, alleging he was illegally placed on leave in retaliation for his opposition to a massive development project to renovate the city’s Vallco Mall.

The administrative claim by Randolph Hom is a required precursor to a possible future lawsuit. The potential lawsuit could seek a multimillion award, according to Hom’s lawyer, Adam Zapala. The mall, built in the 1970s, is now owned by Sand Hill Property Co., which wants to build a mix-used housing, office and retail complex on the 51-acre property.

Artist rendering of development at site of former Vallco Shopping Mall. (Sand Hills Property Co.)

Hom was placed on administrative leave on May 11 by a 3-2 vote of the City Council, according to the claim.

He alleges in the claim that the reason was retaliation for his having told city officials he believed the development plan was illegal for several reasons, including inconsistency with the city’s general plan.

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The city now has 45 days to respond. Hom will be able to file a Superior Court lawsuit six months after that.

Acting City Attorney Rocio Fierro was not available for comment on Monday.

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