Jeff Smith 7 a.m., March 30
Manchester-backed recall leader was sued by David Copley for trespassing
Head of Filner take-down war accused in 2011 of illegal road building and grading by late GOP publisher regarding environmental damage allegedly done to mother's Fox Hill estate
These days La Jolla surveyor Michael Pallamary, leader of the recall against Bob Filner, is a stand-up guy, at least according to U-T San Diego, the mini media empire of Douglas Manchester, a laissez faire land developer and hotel magnate itching to oust the pro-planning San Diego mayor and replace him with someone more malleable.
But Republican Pallamary has not been well regarded by at least one wealthy member of San Diego's Fourth Estate.
Two years ago he was accused by the late David Copley, ex-owner and one-time publisher of the Union-Tribune, of breaking land use and grading laws, as well as trespassing on the hallowed ground of Fox Hill, the baronial Country Club Drive estate of his late mother Helen.
A lawsuit filed in June 2011 by Copley against Pallamary, along with Fox Hill area neighbors, insurance man C. Kent and Barbara Freundt, alleged that the trio illegally destroyed portions of the property.
In or about late 2010 or early 2011, Pallamary and others entered into the Copley Property for the purchase of surveying a roadway.
The complaint went on to charge:
The Freundts improperly obtained a permit from the city of San Diego to construct and grade a road, to make a thoroughfare that connects the southerly termination point of Country Club drive to a northerly access road over a portion of Copley property in which they hold no interest
Then, according to the lawsuit, the Freundts and Pallamary, "intentionally trespassed upon the Copley property," where they allegedly engaged in "intentionally and maliciously cutting down and damaging timber, trees and underwood and by constructing a roadway."
On May 27, 2011, the day before Memorial Day weekend and without notice, the Freundts sent bulldozers and construction personnel onto the Copley Property...to begin grading and constructing a road over the Copley Property.
The Freundts and Pallamary and DOES 1-50 destroyed and removed all landscaping, including large trees, damaged irrigation and water runoff patterns, graded and damaged the Copley property, damaged a hillside embankment, and removed existing curbs and improvements.
All of this construction and demolition work was done without permission or right.
On May 31, 2011, under the cloak of his land surveyor license, Pallamary demanded access to the Copley Property.
When permitted to enter, Pallamary directed the Freundts construction personnel to trespass on Copley Property and began additional construction and grading work. Plaintiffs requested that Pallamary and the Freundts cease all work and immediately leave the Copley property. When they refused, Plaintiff's agents called the Police and sought to have them removed.
When they arrived, the Police referred to this as a civil matter and requested a judicial determination of the various parties’ rights before they removed any construction material from the Copley Property.
If this were not enough, the Freundts now threaten to survey and bulldoze additional "easements" on the Copley Property, none of which are anywhere near the Defendants' property...The harassment in seeking to improve these "easement[s]" is palpable and indicative of the Freundts actions and the character of their land surveyor/construction contractor, Defendant Michael Pallamary.
The cost to Copley for repairs of the illegal work, the lawsuit claimed, was "no less than $1,000,000," not including punitive damages.
In a June 2, 2011 filing, Copley's lawyers portrayed Pallamary as the principle player in the alleged environmental mayhem.
The Court should be aware that although Mr. Pallamary styles himself as a land surveyor and invokes rights to be able to come onto the property of another under applicable law, he acts more like a general contractor for the Freundts as he authorizes and directs all construction personnel.
When Copley died last November in a La Jolla car crash, after suffering a heart attack, his legal battle with Pallamary was still raging, and remains currently unresolved.
In a phone interview today, Jeff Garland, an attorney for Copley's estate, says the matter may soon be on the verge of being settled out of court.
We've left a call for Pallamary, who bills himself on his website as
More like this:
- Inevitable: death and board fees — Nov. 5, 2014
- Who is the "land use expert" Michael J. Pallamary behind the Filner recall campaign? — July 29, 2013
- Copley land still for sale — Dec. 14, 2012
- Copley Press Sells Six Aging La Jolla Cottages for $5.9 million — Oct. 10, 2011
- Copley Press Trying to Sell 22 Acres Adjoining Fox Hill — Oct. 12, 2009