Over $115,000 spent to date on City of Elk Grove's District56 construction litigation

Even though the City of Elk Grove did not formally initiate litigation against contractors involved in the construction of the District56 facility until July 2019, records reveal expenditures associated with the actions were logged almost one year prior. That revelation was uncovered by a public record request from an Elk Grove citizen regarding expenses over the construction delays and cost overruns litigation.

The accounting showed three outside contractors received payment totaling over $115,000. The three contractors include the city's primary outside counsel Sacramento-based law firm Kronick, Moskovitz, Nichols Consulting Engineers, and Hayes and Associates. 

According to information released by the city, Kronick Moskovitz received 10 payments of $58,966 between November 21, 2018, and November 14, 2019; Nichols Consulting Engineers received six payments totaling $29,819 between September 20, 2018, and June 20, 2019; and Hayes and Associates earned $26,504 in three payments between October 4, 2018, and November 29, 2018. 

Interestingly, even though the city has a legal staff of four full-time attorneys, one paralegal, and a budget of over $1.5 million, they continue to use the services of Kronick Moskovitz. Before being hired as a city employee, city attorney Jonathan Hobbs was a partner with Kronick Moskovitz.

The ongoing litigation has become a sore spot for the city after one of the defendants, Big B Construction, a subcontractor on the Distric56 aquatics center, has repeatedly appeared before the city council asserting the cost overruns and delayed opening are the responsibility of the city's largest contractor and designer of the facility, the Willdan Group. As a result of the comments, last year, the city took the unusual step of releasing a statement countering those claims.

The litigation costs, especially payments to Kronick Moskovitz, are expected to continue. A video of one of those commentaries is below.

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2019. All right reserved.


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D.J. Blutarsky said...

There's the issue of cost, but that cost should also buy competency as well. Not sure what criteria they use at City Hall to evaluate their legal staff, but from the outside looking in, this is how I see it:

Bad Advice--City Attorney told City Council it would be okay to not go with low bidder on a vehicle purchase. The low bidder, Downtown Ford, sued and won. Wonder what that advice cost us. Our loss is Kronick's gain.

Talking Up a Good Story--Feasibility study contract for waterpark/civic center was so full of holes, City lost over $400,000 when contractor failed to perform. City proudly proclaimed it was suing and only recovered a net of around $50,000 I seem to recall. Our loss is Kronick's gain.

Rapid backpedal---City Attorney advised pushing the envelope on extending a ban on marijuana sales, despite statewide voter approval. Interest group from SoCal threatened to sue, City backpedaled so fast it made our heads spin. Our loss is Kronick's gain.

District elections--More legal fees were probably spent on this issue than all other issues before it. Our loss is Kronick's gain.

Casino Royale--the City's legal team was roped into pushing to defend the casino project and had to farm out all that legal expertise. Our loss is Kronick's gain.

NDA--For too many years, the City Council closed session agendas have been stacked solid with litigation. Most of the cases seem to magically disappear into thin air, presumably settled out of court with non-disclosure agreements.

There has been a push at the state level to require public agencies using tax dollars for settlements, to reveal the case details and amount paid. If Elk Grove were bound to this, can you imagine!

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