Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Hermosa Beach Oil Settlement Agreement is Not Legal


Why has no one on the City Council read the Macpherson mock jury trial documents or transcript?  The threat of bankruptcy was the basis for was for a $17.5M settlement and extortion vote and no one has read the documents?

Before you read this you should review the contract agreement commentsIn a properly negotiated & compromised settlement agreement, "neither party should be happy"with the outcome.  In this settlement agreement Hermosa Beach tax paying residents lost while the lawyers, City Council and oil won regardless of the outcome of the vote.  Here are some very important questions for our proud elected officials: Council Member Patrick (Kit) BobkoHermosa Beach City Attorney Michael Jenkins and Michael Divirgilio.

Drilling Down Article 
1)  If there was such a real likelihood that Macpherson Oil would win a court award for HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ($750 million,), then why did Macpherson Oil settle for a mere $30 Million or 4% of his asking price  Did Macpherson believe that, even if they won the jury trial, they would likely receive substantially less than $30M, or probably even NOTHING (see below)?  

2)  Was the 1995 “STOP OIL” ELECTION FLAWED because the “City Attorney (Jenkins) Impartial Analysisin the election pamphlet failed to advise/warn voters of the real possibility of a Breach of Contract lawsuit to recover POTENTIAL LOST PROFITS? Were Hermosa Beach voters properly informed about the potential consequences, including tremendous financial liability, of the Proposition E vote in 1995? What law firm was providing City Attorney services to Hermosa Beach during this decade/period of time? Weren’t Bobko and Jenkins both employees of this same law firm - Bobko's current employer RWG Municipal Law Firm (of which he is now a Partner)?

3) Until 2001, Hermosa Beach City Attorney services were being provided by (Bobko’s & Jenkin’s) RWG Municipal Law Firm, represented by RWG Employee Michael Jenkins. From 2001 and onward, Michael Jenkins law firm began providing City attorney services to the City, including providing oversight services on the law firms defending the City from the MacPhersson lawsuit.  After the MacPherson lawsuit was filed, why didn’t RWG admit there had been and omission/error, and advise the City to hold a new election? (The 1995 measure passed by a mere 565 votes). Why didn’t Jenkins (after he/his law firm began providing City Attorney services to Hermosa)? Why didn’t Bobko (after being elected to the City Council)? 

4)  Could damages even be awarded to MacPherson by a jury (under directions provided by the presiding judge) due to failure of Macpherson Oil to make reasonable efforts to “mitigate damages” over the past 15+ years, as required under California law, by insisting on a new vote with a new proper City Attorney Impartial Analysis?  Did Macpherson sue because he could NEVER meet the TERMS & CONDITIONS of the LEASE imposed by the Coastal & State Lands Commission?  Did Hermosa Beach trial lawyers including Michael Jenkins purposely ignore evidence that could have won or minimized damages?  

5) Because of Bobko's associations with RWG Municipal Law Firm and Michael Jenkins, did Councilmen Bobko have a “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” in negotiating and voting on the settlement agreement? Shouldn’t Bobko have RECUSED himself, as required under California law from all such activities.  Has Bobko violated the Brown Act?  

6)  Are these the reasons the Settlement Agreement was negotiated by Bobko in secret, and voted upon behind closed doors without public participation? Was Bobko just protecting the reputation of this law firm, and his friend Jenkins, to the detriment of the City? Why was the settlement agreement not discussed in public BEFORE City Officials signed the contract with a new 3rd party E&B before the scheduled jury trial in April of 2012? Don't neighbors heavily impacted deserve "a say" in that their property and lives could be heavily impacted? - That seems to be normal business practice with Tattoo parlors or new bars, etc

7) Is this the reason that this behind the closed doors settlement includes a requirement that the 1995 "Stop Oil  election be held again"?  By wiping out all City reserve funds if not passed. Are there also other implications with regard to attorney "errors and omissions"insurance and possible reimbursement to the City for its approximately $4M in legal defense costs?

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