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The city council is voting today to authorize spending an amount not to exceed $200,000 in the city's defense of the wrongful termination case brought by Scott Kessler. The matter is on the consent agenda so it is all but certain to pass. The recommendation is for the city to spend the $200,000 to retain the Brown Law Group in its defense. But Janice Brown, founder and senior partner of the firm, has already been representing the city in the case in court since August.

In his suit, Kessler says he was fired by the city because he cooperated with a police detective and the FBI in the investigation of wrongdoing by Little Italy political powerhouse Marco Li Mandri and his friend, convicted felon with organized crime ties Joe Mannino. The investigation was thoroughly researched, but the district attorney would not prosecute. Mayor Jerry Sanders has been deposed in the case. The next hearing in the case before Supreme Court Judge John S. Meyer is Thursday, December 9.

Comments
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RE "The matter is on the consent agenda so it is all but certain to pass. The recommendation is for the city to spend the $200,000 to retain the Brown Law Group in its defense. But Janice Brown, founder and senior partner of the firm, has already been representing the city in the case in court since August":

Perhaps the action with the capped payment to Brown Law Group signals settlement negotiations underway, as a decision to set a new trial date (where a jury trial should cost far more for Brown's participation than the stated amount) won't happen until at least the scheduled hearing mentioned in the blog post.

Roughly half of today's agenda seems to be authorizations for payments to law firms... business as usual?

Dec. 7, 2010

I don't know that settlement negotiations are underway, but I would not be told by either side if they were. The motion passed today, but Marti Emerald pulled it off the consent agenda and asked some questions. Carl DeMaio asked that the council be updated regularly on the case and the city's legal strategy and expenses. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2010

Why, if they weren't blowing that 200 large on this lawsuit, they'd be able to afford another full-time firefighter slot for this fiscal year.

Dec. 7, 2010

Why, if they weren't blowing that 200 large on this lawsuit, they'd be able to afford another full-time firefighter slot for this fiscal year.

============================ You forgot about OT V, which means the $200K might be a little bit on the light side :)

Dec. 7, 2010

Good point, but losing this lawsuit could be a huge embarrassment (for lack of a stronger term) for the mayor. Hence, the money that is being spent. The city claims it needs an outside firm because a person within the city attorney's office was deposed in the case, but that sounds weak to me. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2010

$200K can't be the total costs. I would estimate a case like this being 2-4 times the $200K, and that is before any appeal costs.

I bet they have already spent $200K prior to this $200K.

Dec. 7, 2010

I'm no Esq. but I bet SP is right on the Money (No Pun intended)

The City of SD is like a big bully and will pay rather than go up against tough competition in a fair legal fight! Our Mayor will not want to go to Court or get any more uncontrolled PR. Settlement discussions are the next step and I'm guessing that they will be a done deal before the first day of the trial!

When Scott wins, I suggest he ask for the FBI's witness protection plan and reemerge someplace warm and safe before spending one dime!

Dec. 7, 2010

There could be a settlement, but as I have said, I am not aware of these discussions going on. SP could be right that the eventual bill will be more than $200,000, but that's the amount authorized to date. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2010

I checked that out and can't find that the city has authorized spending money previously on outside attorneys in this case. Over the long haul, you could well be right: the bill will be a lot higher than $200,000. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2010

I'm thinking that the City/Mayor will spend over a million to solve this embarrassment and if I'm right they will not want this to go to trial to prevent "other" questions from being asked of City employees that will expose the management practices of our City!

Dec. 8, 2010

You could be right on both points. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 8, 2010

I'm thinking that the City/Mayor will spend over a million to solve this embarrassment

Why not-they are not the oens paying for it-it is free money to them.

Dec. 8, 2010

I checked that out and can't find that the city has authorized spending money previously on outside attorneys in this case.

How much time and money was spent by the city attorney prior to the hiring of the outside law firm?

Dec. 8, 2010

How much time and money was spent by the city attorney prior to the hiring of the outside law firm?

I bet someone could find out using the freedom of information act but they would probably stall giving an answer because they would claim that it has to do with the case... + I bet the City Atty. is still working on the case or gathering info about the case; good thing the Asst. Atty.'s now have job security...

Dec. 8, 2010

I don't know about going to a Virginia College program that can't meet Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation standards. South University, maybe... but there are others a lot closer to San Diego than Georgia. Perhaps one is unfamiliar with Mr. Bauder's previous writings on "military friendly" private for-profit educational institutions?

Dec. 8, 2010

I'm not sure this entry wound up in the right place. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 8, 2010

Apologies... I was responding to a now-deleted comment here that was a solicitation for new students at South U. and Virginia College as private for-profit trade schools. Apparently, the poster's account is now deleted?

Dec. 8, 2010

Don't ask me. I don't understand the technology. These things happen. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 8, 2010

OOPS: The next hearing on the Kessler case is Friday at 10:30 a.m. in Judge Meyer's court, not Thursday. My error. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 8, 2010

NOTE: JUDGE KNOCKS BACK CITY. In a tentative ruling today (Dec. 9), Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer turned down one of the City's key arguments in the Kessler vs. City of San Diego case. The city had argued that Kessler had failed to exhaust all his remedies by not going to the Ethics Commission. Meyer said that the case the city used as a precedent was not on point. Kessler "sacrificed exhausting administrative remedies based on misleading and false assertions from top personnel at the city," wrote the judge. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 10, 2010

Kaa-Ching, The swan song of the poor has sounded!

I'm still standing with my quote from above:

I'm thinking that the City/Mayor will spend over a million to solve this embarrassment and if I'm right they will not want this to go to trial to prevent "other" questions from being asked of City employees that will expose the management practices of our City!

Dec. 10, 2010

Yep, it could easily go over a million dollars in just defense lawyer fees for the City.

If Kessler wins, and then gets the judgement AND his attorney fees covered, the sky will be the limit.

Dec. 10, 2010

And as I also said from above:

When Scott wins, I suggest he ask for the FBI's witness protection plan and reemerge someplace warm and safe before spending one dime!

Two points to consider:

  1. There are many powerful folks involved in this case, so everyone needs to remember that at all times, anything is a possible outcome.

  2. Do you believe, like I do, that this case may be San Diego's Watergate and once City folks start talking, to protect themselves, many more dark secrets will come to light?

Dec. 10, 2010

City and Mayor in deep doo doo me thinks.

Dec. 10, 2010

... Sorry ... My comment is posted just above.

Dec. 10, 2010

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