The Pringle Ring’s Weird Reaction to CATER’s Loss in Trial Court, Which Will Be Appealed

I’m not yet writing about CATER’s loss on Friday in trial court because Arte Moreno’s bombshell of ending negotiations with the City over the doomed and diseased Memoranda of Understanding sucked up both my time and the story’s oxygen.  But as I see that some of CATER’s well-wishers are on the Cunningblog mixing it up with Pringle Ring Chief Lobbyist Todd “Anaheim Insider” Priest and his sockpuppet minions, I do want to explain at least a little of what is going on.  You’ll find eight points of note below the picture of the judge.

Judge - ACC Bonds 1 Trial Court

NOTE: This was NOT actually the Judge in the trial court for the 1st Anaheim Convention Center Bonds case.

1.  You Absolutely Will Not Believe the City’s ‘Winning Argument’ in This Case

Seriously.  You will be screaming at your monitor when you read it.  You will want to take to the streets.  Keep it orderly; don’t get shot.

2. While CATER Hoped to Win at Trial, the Real Action Was Always Going to Be at the Appellate Level

Court trials — the ones where witnesses actually testify — don’t make new legal precedents.  With a few minor exceptions, the findings and rulings and decisions apply only to that case in that courtroom.  That case may then influence other trial courts, but it doesn’t have any hold over them.  The issues in the CATER v. City of Anaheim (“Bonds 1”) case are absolutely huge.  The only way it wasn’t going to an appellate court is if CATER prevailed at trial and the City chose not to appeal.  So we’re neither surprised at this point nor particularly unhappy.

3. CATER Hasn’t Cost the City a Dime in Damages.

Because construction won’t go forward now — the appeals process will take quite a while — there’s no point in comparing starting times of a few months.  As the City already knew, you won’t see Anaheim Convention Center expansion anytime soon.  (Given the informaition coming out about the expansion — which means spending over half a billion dollars to keep two admittedly profitable events that could still leave anytime they wanted to — that’s not as bad a thing as I once thought.)  Yes, Anaheim could lose the NAMM conference and one other — or it could be that the City Staff will do the necessary work to replace each of them with two or more larger conventions.  And, since Convention Centers are a similar kind of competition between cities are as casinos, the likelihood that some other city would come along and swipe these conventions anyway is fairly high — which would leave us both without these two conventions and a half-billion in the hole.

4. THE CITY is Costing the City a Lot by Not Pursuing Separate Refinancing Bonds

Most of the actual economic gain in the proposed deal comes not from the Convention Center expansion, but from refinancing the City’s current obligations.  Guess what?  The City could refinance those obligations, saving a lot of public money, WITHOUT the Convention Center Constuction Bonds — if it wanted to.  It doesn’t want to, because it would prefer to hold hostage the benefits of refinancing by only pursuing it as part of a deal including the Convention Center Expansion.  In fact, without the substantial economic benefit of the refinancing, the economic gain of the ACC Expansion itself looks much more pitiful.  It’s not CATER’s fault that the City won’t pursue separate refinancing.

5. THE CITY is Costing the City a Lot by Refusing to Bring This Proposal to a Popular Vote

Bear in mind that not only could the City have brought this proposal to a vote that would take place in November, but it easily could have brought this proposal to a vote that would have taken place in June.  And this would be a MAJORITY vote, not a 2/3 vote.  The City didn’t do so — even though it means that we won’t see this Convention Center Expansion for at least a year and possibly forever — because it cares about something even more than making money off of Convention Center Expansion.  It cares most about the principle that it can spend these enormous amounts of money WITHOUT A POPULAR VOTE.  I’ll return to this theme at greater  length as early as tomorrow.  (Seriously, you will not BELIEVE what powers they think that they have.)

6. Chumley is Confused about How the Legal System Works

The Liberal OC’s Chumley asserts that CATER “got spanked.”  I wonder whether Chumley has even read the decision to see if it qualifies as being “spanked.”  (Someone please ask him.)  Chumley also thinks that it’s amusing that I thought that this would go on to the Supreme Court.  Chumley does not seem to realize that I’m talking about the State Supreme Court, not the federal Supreme Court —  and that the likelihood that they would put up with a decision that essentially (as you’ll see) neuters Redevelopment reform without weighing in on it is pretty low.

7. Todd “Anaheim Insuder” Priest  Understands Construction, but Doesn’t Understand What the City Argued in Court

I look forward to Todd Priest’s reading the trial transcript — as he will — because he’ll see that one trick that the City pulled in court was to argue that the Convention Center Expansion part of the proposal was itself $210 million.  (He’s right that it costs money to keep crews standing by for construction, but if anyone has been keeping crews standing by for this matter they have been deluded.  I wonder if they relied on bad advice from the City?)  Anyway, when Priest says “Plus, there was also funding for additional community benefits, such two (I believe) additional fire stations, in the original financing package that CATER and Cory Briggs torpedoed with their lawsuit” — he’s contradicting the City’s statements to the Judge.  Of course, when Lucille Kring was challenged to identify where those Fire Stations were to be located, she had no idea — because plans for them have never been approved.  The Pringle Ring lobbyist just wants us all to think that those fire stations were going to be right down the street from them — because dishonesty is their best policy.

8. Ryan Cantor Defeats Todd Priest in Argument Without Even Knowing the Deal Points

RYAN: I find it incredibly hard to believe that (what’s materially) a minor delay equates to $35m increase in construction costs.

I find it equally absurd that the city would sign a contract that placed 100% of the risk associated with financing the project on the back of the taxpayer, particularly when the primary investor hadn’t approved the final deal. I mean come on, that’d just be criminally reckless. No way that really happened.

So, what’s the real basis for the $35 m. Anyone?

Of course you find it hard to believe, Ryan. What else should we expect? Admit that your buddies filed a ridiculous lawsuit and the only thing they accomplished was to cost the taxpayers they claim to represent more money? You’d have to have some intellectual integrity to do that. You’ll never give an inch. You’ll bob, weave and change the subject. That’s what you do. That’s your assigned role as a Team Taitbot campaign volunteer.
Everyone please recall, when I explain the stakes to you tomorrow (or so), that Todd Priest considers them “frivolous.”  The point is not simply that he’s lying — he’s a lobbyist.  The point is WHAT HE’S TRYING TO HIDEFROM YOU.
Again, I’m sorry that I can’t address the substance of the City’s argument yet — but it’s both complicated and breathtaking.  I’m having to resort to special graphics for this one — as well as a second and possible a third draft.  Please be patient.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)