Request for Public Records (July 12, 2016)
Contracts between Town of Apple Valley and private law firm Best Best & Krieger, LLP
Town of Apple Valley
14955 Dale Evans Pkwy.
Apple Valley, CA 92307
As a taxpayer residing in Apple Valley, pursuant to the California Public Records Act, I request copies of contracts executed between the Town of Apple Valley and the private, for-profit law firm Best Best & Krieger. Specifically, I am requesting a copy of the contract and relevant attachments governing Best Best & Krieger’s service as Town Attorney. Additionally, I request a copy of the separate agreement that authorizes Best Best & Krieger to provide counsel and litigation support for the Town of Apple Valley’s eminent domain lawsuit seeking to acquire the local water system and water rights from Liberty Utilities. Thirdly, I request all Town correspondence related to the RFP process by which Best Best & Krieger was selected including their proposal to the Town for representation in both instances (Town Attorney and eminent domain) as well as the proposals submitted by other law firms. Finally, I would like the staff recommendation advocating for Best Best & Krieger’s retention.
It appears that Best Best & Krieger has a conflict of interest in this matter, and the result is millions in legal fees that residents will have to bear, regardless of whether or not the eminent domain litigation is successful. Best Best & Krieger has a financial incentive to recommend and advocate on behalf of the eminent domain takeover. Given that they also are supposed to represent the Town as their legal counsel, they are severely compromised. Will Best Best & Krieger, acting as Town Attorney, recommend against pursuing costly litigation as recommended by Best Best & Krieger, the eminent domain lawyers?
Beyond these factors, are two much more concerning issues. First, the eminent domain scheme promoted by Town staff and Best Best & Krieger stipulates that all acquisition costs, including legal fees, would be financed through the issuance of revenue bonds. Essentially they have a blank check to bill as much as they can, knowing that taxpayers will have to repay their bill, with interest. One need only see how much Best Best & Krieger has billed in Claremont to recognize that they are simply trying to replicate their eminent domain profit machine here in Apple Valley too. It is no coincidence that Best Best & Krieger Partner Kendall H. MacVey is representing Claremont and Apple Valley for the eminent domain litigation.
Moveover, this whole effort has been conceived without any intent to allow residents to vote on whether or not they want the Town to proceed with the eminent domain lawsuit. A recent Daily Press poll of 800 residents revealed that residents oppose the eminent domain takeover by a 53-37 margin. Yet Best Best & Krieger partner John Brown, who currently serves as Town Attorney for Apple Valley, Ontario, and La Habra Heights, stated in the newspaper that the effort was moving forward without any delay.
Indeed things are moving forward aggressively, and in secret. One need only count the number of items Best Best & Krieger has addressed with the Town Council in closed session, since the last so-called
Transparency Report last January. There have been dozens, too many to count, and each one is costing we voiceless residents money.
Accordingly, I am requesting copies of the contracts so that we may share with residents information regarding a private, for-profit law firm that is making millions by promoting the use of eminent domain in Southern California. For a Town that has claimed to be transparent, it’s time that residents are given clear information, instead of another eight closed session items as appear on tonight’s closed session agenda.
I would like to point out that BB&K was directed to produce an
impartial analysis of the Right to Vote on Debt measure and produce a competing ballot measure of unknown content, with no public vetting, that will compete with the simple right to vote measure. Once again, when BB&K is financially incentivized to promote the eminent domain litigation, these two measures can hardly be
impartial or have any other objective than to discourage the citizen measure and protect the status quo.
Apple Valley Town staff are supposed to act on behalf of taxpayers, not to line the pockets of a private law firm that boasts of representing municipalities across California. For these reasons, pursuant to the California Public Records Act, please provide copies of these documents as soon as possible.
Catherine Manning, Apple Valley, CA
Files related to Claremont
- 20150308 Acquiring AVRWC is right move for Apple Valley
- 20150314 Expense of possible AVRWC acquisition difficult to gauge
- 20150514 Claremont Water System — Supplement to 2012 Appraisal Report
- 20150905 Letter: Lawyers, water, and money (O’Neil)
- 20150918 TOAV fires back at Coupal
- 20150923 Editorial: Water, takeovers, and the people
- 20151015 Cities and private equity firms fight over ownership of water systems
- 20160712 Public records request (Manning)
- 20160721 Conflict of interest (Manning)
- 20160904 Letter: Peter Allen supporting Measure V (Nassif)
- 20161012 Claremont Set To Raise Rates For Utilities
- 20161018 Will Apple Valley become California’s Flint, MI?
- 20161110 Statement of tentative decision (Claremont v. Golden State Water)
- 20161110 Judge issues tentative decision against city in water system acquisition trial (Claremont v. Golden State Water)
- 20161114 Measures V and W
- 20161115 Polls and votes
- 20161116 Another false narrative
- 20161116 Liberty sees Claremont’s eminent-domain loss as sign of things to come in Apple Valley
- 20161121 Voters show they want a say in water takeover issue (Hanson)
- 20161215 Another costly day for Apple Valley
- 20161218 Time to pay attention: An open letter to Larry Cusack
- 20170111 Claremont city manager getting a $21,000 bonus
- 20170114 Price tag for Claremont’s failed attempt to take over water system keeps rising
- 20170115 Our View: Time for foes to sit down and talk
- Time for the Town Council to listen for a change
- Response to Thomas Lecoq (Carloni)
- Time for a second opinion? (Carloni)
- 20170209 Avoiding the Claremont disaster (video)
- 20170213 Valley Voices: Apple Valley would be wise to work with Liberty Utilities (Wright)
- 20170216 James Belna on the Claremont eminent domain disaster (video)
- 20170220 Claremont resident talks [about] avoiding ‘disaster’ in Apple Valley
- 20170220 Conflict of interest
- 20170220 Letter: Response to Thomas Rice (Belna)
- 20170226 Letter: James Belna’s visit (Hanson)
- 20170226 Letter: Rice rebuttal (Trozpek)
- Claremont public records request
- Truth not tricks (Carloni)
- Comments to the Town Council opposing the ballot measure
- 20170314 Town Council meeting (McCarthy)
- 20170322 Skewing the facts (Hanson)
- 20170323 Letter: Sit down and settle (Henard)
- 20170406 Guest commentary: Government takeovers of water systems don’t deliver results — study
- Who pays?
- Responding to claims made on Facebook
- 20170508 Liberty Utilities radio ad — Claremont (audio)
- Not paying attention
- 20171010 Claremont reaches $4.8 million settlement agreement with Golden State Water
- 20171017 Claremont settlement reignites Apple Valley water war
- 20171026 Claremont cuts ties with its city attorney, law firm