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Matt Gaffney, San Juan Capistrano

Last week, the Orange County Superior Court ruled that Mayor Pam Patterson and the City Council (Sam Allevato excepted as he was the lone dissenting vote) broke the law when they overturned the San Juan Hotel & Villas project. Damages paid from the city to Urban Village are expected to be greater than $5 million and as much as $10 million. That’s your money, folks. It will come directly out of your taxes. Think about that the next time you ask why there is no money to fix our town’s traffic problems or improve our parks.

Pam Patterson lied about the hotel project to get elected and we will pay for it. She and her colleagues will bear no consequences for their multimillion dollar deceit. There is nothing we can do about it now other than pay our share. However, the worst is yet to come. The Urban Village lawsuit was only the first of several suits the city is currently defending as a result of the new council majority’s arrogant and dishonest actions.

Next up is the Vermeulen lawsuit, with damages expected to be much larger than those associated with Urban Village. Backed by Kim McCarthy’s Common Sense hate rag, Mayor Patterson and Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson published information about the proposed senior community that was in direct conflict with published staff reports—including their now famous exaggeration of the project’s traffic by more than 2,000 percent. Once elected, they blocked the public vote they had promised during their signature collecting campaigns. Now a judge, rather than the voters, will decide the issue and determine how much of your money to give to the Vermeulen family.

The city is also being sued for the council majority’s water refund scheme, where funds were taken from the sewer reserves to pay for some of the liability created by Councilman John Perry’s lawsuit. The problem? Perry created more liability for San Juan Capistrano than he intended, and some residents’ lawyers were paying attention. The damages are again estimated to be in the millions.

Most recently, the city was sued for conducting elections in violation of the California Voting Rights Act. This case has a silver lining. Plaintiffs have offered to drop the case (which the city is expected to lose) if the city will simply conduct proper elections for all five council members this November. Mayor Patterson, Councilwoman Ferguson and Councilman Derek Reeve can stop this lawsuit by simply letting the voters decide if we still want them in office. It will be the first time since being elected that they could keep their promise to “let the voters decide.”

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comments (8)

  • Matt, it was Sam Allevato who insisted the City time after time fight the lawsuit on the water rates. The City has paid about 5 million back to the water users after paying about 3 million in attorney fees, so far.

    Now, the City is facing a class action lawsuit because Sam Allevato refused to return the money to the rate payers that the court had ruled time after time that Sam Allevato was completely wrong. The amount of money owed to the water users is 15 million.

    It is people like John Perry who fight to return your own money to you, while Sam Allevato fights to not return your own money to you.

  • Clint,
    Who do you think is going to pay this money back? Where is the money going to come from? Since this lawsuit my family’s water usage has gone down but our bill has gone up? So the citizens who conserved water during this extreme drought will pay the people who did not conserve. Only in San Juan Capistrano. And please tell us how the person you seem to be obsessed with, Sam allevato, decided all by himself not to pay people back? I think they were going to appeal which is pretty much what most intelligent people would do? Please tell us how you are going to encourage people to conserve water. We are still in drought conditions.

    • Shelly,
      The City has illegally taken our money. If someone took 15 million out of your wallet, would you say, oh please give me my money back when you can? Or, would you say get me my 15 million back now however you choose to do it ? The residents saw through John Taylor and Larry Kramer and voted them out of office. Sam Allevato is the only remaining council member who continually voted time after time to fight the water lawsuit and screw his constituents out of their own money. No obsession. People need to know the damage that Sam Allevato has caused our city.

      • The city was trying to have people conserve water. And it worked! We cut our water usage all over San Juan Capistrano. We, the people, are the city. The money that was collected went into the city. No one pocketed it. It went into the city. Now, the citizens who conserved in order to cut San Juan Capistrano’s water usage will have to repay people who over use water. It is occurring now. Please explain why my bill has gone up but my water usage has gone down???

      • Clint Worthington

        Shelly Welcome, so you are saying is that it is ok to illegally take money and not repay it. Is that correct ?

      • Clint Worthington,
        The lawsuit should have been appealed. We, the city, took our own money in order to encourage people to CONSERVE water. The money did not go into people’s pockets but into the city where we live. California is in a drought still. Did people conserve water? Yes! So now people who conserved and did not overuse water are paying more for their water because we need to repay the people who overused water.

      • Clint Worthington,
        We, the people of San Juan Capistrano, will be paying more to pay back ourselves. So even though my family conserved water and did the right thing, we will be paying more for our water and people who overuse water will be paying less.

  • Clint, Ok, you can be right about Councilman Allevato and the water lawsuit. What do you have to say about this council costing us millions on the hotel lawsuit? That is, after all, what this story is about.

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