Friday, January 13, 2012

Are Legal Fees Killing Costa Mesa?

INCOMPLETE AGENDA AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING
The agenda for the Costa Mesa City Council meeting next Tuesday, January 17, 2012, was released earlier today. Unfortunately, as I type this several staff reports are not available for review yet. In hindsight, I should have known better than to tackle this today...


WARRANTS AVAILABLE
However, the Warrants that are part of the Consent Calendar - that section of the meeting where those items might be voted upon as a group without comment - and a few items really rocked me back.

HERE'S THE LINKS...

I'll simply address the legal fees on these Warrants, #2402, HERE and
#2403, HERE.

MERE CHICKEN FEED...
You may recall that the Warrants in the previous regular council meeting contained some eye-opening legal fees, too. For example, high-priced Jones Day billed us at that time for $133,000! I was aghast at that number. HA! Chicken feed!

SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU IGNORE ELEANOR!
Warrant #2402 contains a check written to Jones Day in the amount of $175,000! Hold it! Hold it! On the next warrant, #2403, we cut them ANOTHER check for $81, 919.26! Two checks totalling $256,919.26! And, as you will recall, de
spite repeated demands by resident, former employee and lawyer, Eleanor Egan, for some kind of a cap on their contract, our City Council went ahead and gave Jones Day a virtual blank check!

BETTER SIT DOWN
Feeling kind of woozy from thos
e numbers. You'd better sit down, then, because it gets worse.


JONES & MAYER, TOO

We also cut a check to our contract City Attorney, Jones & Mayer, for $111,461.34!
Yep, we budgeted $800,000 in July - about $68,000 per month - and have consistently spent nearly double that amount each month just for Jones & Mayer. There is also an amount for $540.00 to another law firm, bringing the total for legal fees to $368,920.61!

NOT DONE YET!
Stay seated, there's more. We also cut a check to The Krolikowski Law Firm for $150,000 for the settlement of an injury claim!

THE GRAND TOTAL I
S...
So, in these two warrants and a legal settlement, we managed to spend $518,920.60! Yikes!!

THE NUMBERS LEAVES YOU BREATHLESS
If we throw out the settlement, which I suspect was paid from our self-insurance fund, that still leaves $368,920.61. Multiply that number by 12 and you get $4,427,047.22 - the rate at which they are blowing through the legal budget!


SPENDING LIKE ADDICTS
We have the mid-year budget review scheduled for a meeting on February 28th
. By that time it's likely we will see another quarter million dollars spent on legal fees thanks ENTIRELY to the irresponsibility of the majority on this city council. They're acting more like drug addicts than fiscal conservatives with our money - a fact that should not be taken lightly.

YEP...

I knew I shouldn't have read the council meeting agenda on Friday, the 13th...

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Sport teams must follow rules? Right? said...

IF ONLY. . .The current CM City Council had done things by the book, i.e. OUTSOURCING/LAYOFF procedures, it’s their fault for "doing things their way" and getting us into this mess.

When they are no longer on the CC can the City sue them for ignoring the rules & regs??

Maybe we can recommend in the Charter, if City Council members do not follow the City's Rules & Regs, they get penalized, like athletes, i.e. football players do? If City Attorney gives "bad" advice, we will get reimbursed or credit?

Former City Attorney Kim Barlow said..."no-no boys" and she was out the door.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm....

1/13/2012 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Ruck Figgy said...

Geoff,
Thank you for keeping us accurately informed. We can no longer rely on the Daily Pilot for anything except slobber that Joe Serna puts out there for Righeimer/Lobdell.

By the way...How long do you think Lobdell will be an "interim" mouthpiece? I'm guessing he will be interim as long as Righeimer is King.

I see Riggy's train losing steam.
1. He brings back (with Morelick) the bridge idea. He no shows the meeting and Mensinger wants a motion to OPPOSE the bridge. I remember a prior council doing that officially.

2. Did you see all of the NEW faces at the charter meeting? Those aren't union shills, baby! Those are VOTERS!!! Yes, young families, that are buying their houses and actually CARE about Costa Mesa.

3. Even the Mancrush-on-west blogger has called the guys on their lack of support. Righeimers house of cards is starting to crash.

Adios Riggy! Start packing again, you carpetbagger.

1/13/2012 07:08:00 PM  

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