Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Costa Mesa Legal Expenses Climbing(Amended)**

Late this afternoon the City of Costa Mesa posted a link, HERE, on the home page that takes you to a spreadsheet displaying the City's legal expenses for this fiscal year, through December, 2011. Before you click on that link be sure you're sitting down and have a seat belt fastened.

According to this bit of information, the City has paid a total of $1,169,339 in legal
expenses for the first half of the fiscal year. The total for expenses coming out of the General Fund is $428,259. You will recall that the General Fund budget for legal fees beginning July 1, 2011 was $803,000, so we're well on our way to blowing through that amount.

Of greater interest, perhaps, is the amount of money being rung up for litigation. That accounts for $730,360, or over 60% of the City dollars spent on legal expenses! Of that amount, the high-priced firm of Jones Day - the $495 per hour firm being used for the CMCEA litigation - accounts for more than half, $390,701, and that ball's just beginning to roll now. My understanding is that they've begun depositions, which will get that old meter spinning.


I've written to contract City Attorney, Tom Duarte, today for an explanation of how they determine specifically which exp
enses are charged against the General Fund and which are charged to our Self Insurance Fund. I expect I'll hear from him sometime Wednesday on this subject. The Self Insurance Fund was budgeted for just over $3 million for this fiscal year.

**NOTE: I heard from Bill Lobdell, Director of Communications for Costa Mesa, this morning. He confirmed that those numbers shown under "litigation" are just that. Jones Day numbers will ALWAYS appear in that category.


At the City Cou
ncil meeting on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 the Consent Calendar will very likely contain Warrants that will include legal expenses paid in January. I fully expect the bills for Jones Day to be HUGE this time around. We'll see...

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Anonymous Themosticles said...

Since losses to the self-insurance fund will be replenished from the general fund, the difference is arbitrary, and the accounting is bogus.

2/15/2012 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger valan2 said...

"The high-priced firm of Jones Day." That's the same firm whose attorneys, soon after the City hired them, started contributing to Righeimer's campaign fund, right? Just checking. Maybe that's one account that will be balanced as a result of this Council's actions.

2/15/2012 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Fountain Valley , a General Law city , outsourced their street sweeping services awhile back. No fuss, no bother.
There are no "Sacramento mandates" saying that General Law cities can't outsource. You just have to follow protections built into the laws to protect against unscrupulous politicians dismantling well built municipalities, without properly studying the results and properly vetting the new providers. No bid city contracts for services , under General Law, are VERBOTEN.
With a Charter, they can be allowed.

2/15/2012 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Angry White Man said...

Just imagine what kind of budget surplus our city would have if the corrupt council wasn't throwing away money to lawyers and a huge executive staff that we don't need.

2/15/2012 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous I don't own a tie said...

Hey phone dropping chest-bumper, imagine all the streets and roadways that could get taken care of if the City wasn't spending so much on these crazy and still growing legal bills. Are you really OK with this kind of spending to defend a lawsuit that was created by your frat-boy buddy?

2/15/2012 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Where are all the council supporters when you bring up the huge legal fees?

..........off asking for talking points????

2/15/2012 07:42:00 PM  

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