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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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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.

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

In his May 16 letter to the City of Anaheim, Greg Diamond of Brea – the “government accountability attorney” who represents his buddies from CATER – explains the secretive group’s lawsuit against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion “largely follows the reasoning sent to the City Council prior to its vote by Cory Briggs, Counsel for our Co-Plaintiff…” 

That’s helpful because CATER, self-proclaimed champions of transparency that they are, haven’t released their lawsuit to the public for whom they claim to be fighting. So if the public wants to have some inkling of the grounds on which CATER is driving up the cost of a Convention Center expansion they profess to support, they’ll have find their way to Diamond’s May 15 post on Orange Juice Blog. That’s a tall order since very few Anaheim residents have ever heard of Orange Juice Blog (lucky devils). Transparency in action – CATER-style!

In the sentence quoted above, Diamond pontificates about Brigg’s communication to the City Council, which he says “the City Council chose to ignore in approving the bonds without a legally mandated vote of the electorate.”

Diamond is talking about an e-mail Briggs sent to the Anaheim City Council. And when did councilmembers receive this warning they “chose to ignore”? At 3:06 p.m. on March 11 – a few minutes after the council convened for its workshop on the Convention Center expansion, prior to going straight into regular session.

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Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Cory Briggs is at it again in Anaheim. The left-wing enviro-litigator from San Diego wants the Anaheim City Council to take his word that last week’s vote authorizing the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center was illegal, per typically breathless, uncritical disclosure on the local fever swamp blog.

This is the same Cory Briggs who alleged, on behalf of the radical activist group OCCORD, that city councilmembers who voted last year to approve the GardenWalk economic assistance agreement were guilty of violating conflict-of-interest laws. Briggs called on the state Attorney General and the Orange County District Attorney to prosecute those four councilmembers. Briggs was blowing hot air back then (as was subsequently shown). It was a request for prosecution by Briggs that – per the OCCORD press release — was “a required legal step before the filing of a private lawsuit.” Despite his utter certitude that conflict-of-interest laws had been violated, Briggs never (to my knowledge) filed a lawsuit – not surprising given the flimsiness of the allegation.

Color me unimpressed by Cory Briggs’ latest allegation.

An interesting aspect of OCCORD calling on the state Attorney General and the OC District Attorney to prosecute all four members of Anaheim City Council for imaginary violations is it puts some members of the OCCORD Board of Directors at political odds with themselves.

OCCORD is the political offspring of UNITE-HERE. Unions provide OCCORD with funding, and at least 40% the radical group’s board of directors consists of union executives and members.

Among those are Ada Briceno, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE-HERE Local 11; Rick Eiden, the executive vice president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324; Rob Penney, organizing director for the United Nurses Associations of California;  Jorge Inestria, UNITE-HERE activist.

In addition to being a director of OCCORD, Eiden is also the president of the Orange County Labor Federation (the OC presence of the AFL-CIO) — which endorsed Jordan Brandman for Anaheim City Council in 2012.  UNITE-HERE is represented on the OCLF board by its president, Tom Walsh (Briceno is UNITE-HERE Local 11’s No. 2).

On its face, you have UCFW President Rick Eiden – in his capacity as an OCCORD Director — calling for the criminal prosecution of an elected official (on absurd legal grounds) whose he officially and materially supported as head of the OC Labor Federation.

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An interesting discussion took place at the Anaheim City Council dais last night. As Mayor Tom Tait announced they were taking up item 22 (the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s Enterprise Zone contract), Councilman Jordan Brandman jumped in with a point of order.

He made reference to the OCCORD/Cory Briggs letter asking the state Attorney general and the OC Districts Attorney to prosecute every member of the city council (except Mayor Tait) for voting in favor of the GardenWalk agreement this May. The specious contention being those votes violated conflict-of-interest laws because those councilmembers either served on the SOAR Advisory Committee or had received contributions from the SOAR PAC.

Brandman pointed out that each member of the city council, including the mayor, had received campaign contributions from either the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC, Chamber members or Chamber affiliates. Given the OCCORD/Briggs letter, would they be violating those same conflict-of-interest laws, since the same circumstances presented themselves?

Here is video of Councilman Brandman’s question and City Attorney Michael Houston’s response:

Houston’s response should put to rest any idea that the OCCORD/Brigg’s allegations have any merit at all – which is sure to be a disappointment to certain inhabitants of the local blogosphere who are fairly drooling at the idea of the objects of their political hatred being prosecuted for something, anything.

So I’m reading through this letter from the lefty attorney Cory Briggs, whom OCCORD has dragged in an attempt to get state and county authorities to prosecute everyone on the Anaheim City Council except Mayor Tom Tait, and my first thought is, “Did this Briggs guys actually go to law school?”

I encourage you to read it, because there is no there, there. The allegations by OCCORD and Briggs barely rise to the level of guilt by association. If there were indeed any violations of the Political Reform Act of 1974, Briggs would have specified in his which sections have been transgressed. His omission is telling. Essentially, OCCORD and Briggs are asking state and local prosecutors to go on legal fishing expedition to find something on OCCORD’s political opponents (no wonder local gasbags are delighted with this: all innuendo and no substance – exactly their flavor).

Here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Attorney General Harris and District Attorney Rackauckas:

On behalf of Tina Quintana (a registered voter in the City of Anaheim) and Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, and pursuant to Government Code Section

91007, I am writing to request that you commence prosecutorial actions against Anaheim City Councilmembers Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, Lucille Kring, and Jordan Brandman for violations of the Political Reform Act of 1974 (“PRA”).

My clients believe that these four politicians violated the PRA for the following reasons:

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