SLO tries to parlay its legal losses to CAPSLO
January 23, 2013
The San Luis Obispo City Council is threatening that if the two attorneys who sued for unconstitutional treatment of the homeless do not agree to donate half of the $133,880 award of fees to the San Luis Obispo Community Action Partnership (CAPSLO), the city will appeal the award.
The council voted 4-1 in closed session Tuesday not to appeal San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall’s ruling on the legal fees and to instead offer the amount in full to attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stew Jenkins as as long as they agree to then hand half over to CAPSLO.
Councilman John Ashbaugh, who sits on the CAPSLO Board of Directors, voted in favor of making the deal to help enrich the controversial non-profit. Ashbaugh said he did not hold a conflict of interest on the matter.
“I’m not an employee of CAPSLO,” Ashbaugh said. “In no way am I compensated by them.”
Ashbaugh also said city staff told him he could vote on the payment request.
On the September 27 Dave Congalton show, Ashbaugh said the city would fight against paying the fees requested by Rizzo and Jenkins. Ashbaugh also said he trusts City Attorney Christine Dietrick’s legal advice and that, “She is amazing.”
Mayor Jan Marx, who is the only attorney on the council, cast the dissenting vote against requesting that Rizzo and Jenkins give half of the $133,880 to CAPSLO.
Dietrick announced the vote during her report on closed session at Tuesday’s council meeting. The council did not need to disclose how it voted in closed session, but Dietrick said the council chose to do so on the matter of the legal fees.
If Rizzo and Jenkins reject the offer, the city can still appeal the fees. Doing so would risk costing taxpayers more money since Rizzo and Jenkins could ask for more in fees if the appellate court upholds the trial court’s ruling.
Jenkins said Dietrick has yet to contact him on how the city plans to proceed with the ruling on the fees.