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Cory Briggs.

Cory Briggs.

Cory Briggs, via his Inland Oversight Committee, has joined with the recently-formed CATER in suing to stop the city council-approved expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. The lawsuit will cost Anaheim money, quite possibly millions in community benefits, and certainly delay and possibly squash construction jobs for people who need them. But what’s all that balanced against the demands of a fistful of gadflies?

Briggs, as always, claims he is serving the “public interest.” But what about the interests of his clients – one of which is UNITE-HERE Local 11?

For years, UNITE-HERE has paid Briggs’ law firm for “representational activities.” UNITE-HERE is in the membership business. The more members UNITE-HERE has, the more revenue from member dues. Employees of Aramark, the sports and entertainment services company, are UNITE-HERE members. Aramark provides food service and meeting-planning services for the Anaheim Convention Center. An expanded Anaheim Convention Center booking more and bigger conventions and conferences means more members for UNITE-HERE — which could use it after Aramark lost its food service contracts with the Angels and the Honda Center last year.

So while Briggs is collecting a (modest) paycheck from UNITE-HERE Local 11, he is working with CATER to torpedo the convention center expansion that will generate more members and revenues for UNITE-HERE Local 11 – a lawsuit which certainly isn’t in its interest. Perhaps the potential payout from the lawsuit is more than the $44,746 UNITE-HERE has paid Briggs Law Corporation since 2009.

When it comes to the relationship between Anaheim gadfly group CATER and liberal litigator Cory Briggs Inland Oversight Group, it seems that one hand washes the other. Briggs’ IOC is CATER’s co-plaintiff in the lawsuit to stop the council-approved expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center.

As it turns out, CATER has joined Brigg’s legal battle against the expansion of San Diego’s convention center, which was filed at the beginning of April of this year.

On May 12, CATER and IOC filed their lawsuit against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion. Two weeks later, on May 27, CATER jumped into the San Diego Convention Center legal fight, with Greg Diamond of Brea filing an answer to a Briggs “reverse-validation complaint.” I’m not a lawyer, but a lawyer tried to explain it to me. Even though CATER is clearly allied with Briggs, it is technically a defendant in the San Diego case but it’s “answer” to ask the court to find in Brigg’s favor:

WHEREFORE, Defendant CATER prays for the following relief against Defendants City of San Diego, City of San Diego as successor agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego, Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, and Public Facilities Financing Authority of the City of San Diego (and any and all other parties who may oppose Defendant CATER or Plaintiff in this proceeding):

A. A judgment determining or declaring that the Bond Approvals do not comply with all applicable laws in at least some respect, rendering the Bond Approvals null and void, invalid, or otherwise without legal effect;

B. Injunctive relief prohibiting Defendants City of San Diego, City of San Diego as successor agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego, Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, and Public Facilities Financing Authority of the City of San Diego (and any and all other parties who may oppose Defendant CATER or Plaintiff in this proceeding) from taking any of the action contemplated by the Bond Approvals unless and until said Defendants comply with all applicable legal requirements, as determined by the Court;

C. All legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with this proceeding, including but not limited to reasonable attorney fees as authorized by the Code of Civil Procedure; and

D. Any and all further relief that this Court may deem appropriate.

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Yesterday I referred to a July 2013 post on an Inland Empire blog reporting that at the time the Inland Oversight Committee (IOC) — CATER’s partner in suing to stop the approved Anaheim Convention Center expansion — listed a dead man, Ian Trowbridge, as it’s chairman.

As it turns out, the IOC publicly listed Mr. Trowbridge – deceased for almost a year-and-a-half – as its chairman until several days ago. Check out this June 4, 2014 snapshot of the IOC website via the Internet Wayback Machine.

IOC dead Ian Trowbridge

 

Keep in mind the CATER/IOC lawsuit was filed weeks before, on May 12. That puts the City of Anaheim in the unique position of having been jointly sued by a director of the OC Cemetery District and a group headed by a dead man.

Per the Voice of San Diego:

The website for the Inland Oversight Committee, a nonprofit from which Briggs frequently sues in San Bernardino County, posts Briggs’ law office as its contact address. The website lists someone named Anthony Kim as the organization’s legal adviser. Kim is an attorney in Briggs’ office. The website also names Ian Trowbridge, a San Diegan and a Briggs ally, as the group’s chairman. Trowbridge died more than a year ago. Since Trowbridge’s death, Briggs has sued at least nine times on the group’s behalf.

Sometime during the last two weeks, Brigg’s Inland Oversight Committee changed the chairman listing to “SD Fraker.” 

I suppose it’s metaphoric that CATER, after inviting this legal vampire into Anaheim, finds itself teamed with the undead.

I thought I’d share this May 27, 2014 Voice of San Diego article on Cory Briggs, the left-wing ambulance chaser working hand-in-glove with CATER to stop the council-approved expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center:

Cory Briggs, the attorney who helped end the political career of Bob Filner, wants to stop a lot of other things in San Diego, too.

Like an expansion of the city’s Convention Center. And a half-dozen new neighborhood libraries and refurbished fire stations. And even a Jack in the Box drive-thru in North Park. All told, Briggs’ lawsuits are tying up more than $2 billion in projects across San Diego. No one paralyzes City Hall’s ability to do anything more than him, City Councilman Scott Sherman said.

“People are just scared to death Cory Briggs is going to sue over something,” Sherman said.

In fact, Briggs instills the same fear in politicians and developers all across Southern California. No attorney sues under the state’s main environmental quality law more than him.

These lawsuits all tend to follow a formula: A local City Council approves a big-box development, like a Wal-Mart. A nonprofit with a watchdoggy name sues, with Briggs as its attorney. The developer settles the case and pays Briggs for his trouble. It’s often unclear who is against the project other than Briggs himself.

It’s a fascinating article, and you can read the whole thing here.

Given how closely CATER works with Briggs and his front non-profit Inland Oversight Committee; and given that Cynthia Ward and other allies of Mayor Tait established CATER for the express purpose of filing such lawsuits, one has to wonder if it wasn’t Cory Briggs who gave them the idea to start CATER.

Cory Briggs. Dead people have rights, too, you know.

Cory Briggs. Dead people have rights, too, you know.

Although CATER gets the credit – if that’s what you want to call it — for the lawsuit that spiked a deal with Citigroup for bond financing of the Anaheim Convention Center expansion, the loud little group is actually a co-plaintiff. The other plaintiff is the Inland Oversight Committee (IOC).

The IOC is a creature of left-wing attorney Cory Briggs, the left-wing attorney from San Diego who is OCCORD’s attorney in their lawsuit against the 2013 GardenWalk agreement. It is a tiny non-profit that has been filing lawsuits against economic development projects in San Diego and the Inland Empire. Indeed, the more you look at it, the more CATER seems to have been modeled on it.

The late Ian Trowbridge. Proof of litigation after death.

The late Ian Trowbridge. Proof of litigation after death.

Like CATER, IOC claims to represent a group of citizens but keeps that claimed membership anonymous. How ‘real” a group is the IOC? Consider the following and draw your own conclusion: the auhor of this July 2, 2013 post on the Empoprise-IE blog was researching IOC and discovered that the person listed on IOC’s website as it’s chairman had actually died several months earlier.

I’ve heard of dead people voting, but not suing.

CATER and IOC being co-plaintiffs against Anaheim is actually quasi-karmic: CATER President Cynthia Ward is a trustee of the OC Cemetery District, and IOC used to be headed by a dead person.

The IOC website currently lists as its chairman someone named “SD Fraker” – who presumably is still among the living, but who really knows? It also lists as its “Legal Advisor” a Mr. Anthony Kim – an attorney in Brigg’s law firm.

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