5.9k Share this

Confidential discussions of three lawsuits over the city’s lease-to-own deal for the 101 Ash St. high-rise stretched for more than 4½ hours Tuesday, but the San Diego City Council said it took no action on the litigation.

The closed-session meeting was the third time in as many months that council members convened in private to debate the cases generated by the lease recommended by former Mayor Kevin Faulconer and approved by a prior council in 2016.

Last month, the council met privately for four hours to consider their legal strategy.

The council agenda stated that the City Attorney’s Office was seeking direction from the elected body. But at the close of the public session late Tuesday afternoon, the council reported no action was taken.

Public documents released in recent weeks show Mayor Todd Gloria and City Attorney Mara Elliott have been promoting a resolution of the lawsuits filed since the city acquired the building more than five years ago.

Advertisement

The 20-year lease-to-own arrangement has cost the city at least $60 million even though the building is unsafe to occupy.

The city signed an “as-is” agreement to acquire the building, which is contaminated with asbestos, has a faulty fire-suppression system, and aging heating and air systems, among other problems.

A consultant said it would take $115 million to repair the building, which was appraised at $67 million before the council approved the agreement.

In one case, taxpayer John Gordon claimed the contract was illegal because it allegedly violated the state constitution by using public funds without a direct benefit and by indebting the city without a vote of the people.

Another case was filed by the city against an LLC created by Cisterra Development, a San Diego company that acted as the landlord in the 2016 Ash Street deal, as well as its lender.

Cisterra, its lender and real estate broker Jason Hughes were also named in a second lawsuit the city filed last year related to the lease-purchase agreement for the Civic Center Plaza building in 2015.

The city’s lawsuits claim the defendants violated the state’s anti-corruption laws by failing to disclose $9.4 million in payments to Hughes, who held himself out publicly as a volunteer adviser to Faulconer.

Cisterra, Hughes and the lenders all dispute the allegations.

According to public filings, lobbyist Chris Wahl has been meeting with Elliott and senior aides to Gloria in an effort to settle the Ash Street lawsuits out of court.

Wahl, who was hired by Cisterra, also has raised tens of thousands of dollars for San Diego elected officials, including members of the City Council who would have to approve any settlement.

All three cases are scheduled for trial early next year.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like
Florida protest law: Ron DeSantis signs bill limiting demonstrations after pro abortion rights rally outside Brett Kavanaugh home

Florida protest law: Ron DeSantis signs bill limiting demonstrations after pro abortion rights rally outside Brett Kavanaugh home

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Anyone who protests in front of a private residence…

BBC is accused of snubbing Olly Alexander as UK’s Eurovision act

The BBC has been accused of overlooking chart-topping TV star Olly Alexander…

Illegal Alien Charged with Killing Man in Drunken Crash on Mother’s Day

An illegal alien has been accused of killing a man during a…

$19 Beers in Store for Fans at PGA Championship

If you plan on getting sauced at this year’s PGA Championship, bring…
KN95 masks that failed federal testing for health care workers were given to CPS schools amid Omicro

KN95 masks that failed federal testing for health care workers were given to CPS schools amid Omicro

KN95 masks that failed federal testing for health care workers were given…

*** Election Night Livewire *** Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho, Oregon Vote in Contentious Primaries

Voters in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho, and Oregon all head to…
Family calls for driver to surrender after hit-and-run left Marine Corps veteran in ICU

Family calls for driver to surrender after hit-and-run left Marine Corps veteran in ICU

CHICAGO (CBS) — Raul Basulto is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who…

Taliban Claims 130,000-Strong Army as Afghans Face Starvation

The Taliban’s defense ministry on Sunday claimed the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”…