Part I: Flaws in California city attorney's opinions often exposed when challenged - Acting as personal counsel for politicians, not taxpayers

As observers of the Elk Grove City Council will note, legal opinions by a city attorney are frequently flawed, and their actions appear to protect city council members and not the taxpayers they are supposed to represent.

An example of this was a legal opinion by Elk Grove city attorney Jonathan Hobbs issued almost  10 years to this day advising the Elk Grove City Council they could reject a successful bid for the purchase of police vehicles and award it to a higher bidder. Not surprisingly, when the rejected bidder, Downtown Ford, filed suit, the city lost.

Then there is the case of P3 International and Jeroen Gerrese. Hobbs advised the city council that the one-time consultant for what became District56 and the Aquatics Center was in "material breach of contract" (see video below) and that recovery of the $650,000 that the city council and ultimately taxpayers were conned out of was not fully recovered. As with his Downtown Ford opinion, Hobbs was again wrong. 

Hobbs willingly renders opinions that suit the political, and thereby personal needs of city council members that do not withstand legal scrutiny. Too bad Hobbs seems more interested in acting like a Michael Cohen-type fixer or William Barr sycophant to Donald Trump than representing taxpayers who are stuck with the bill to clean up their financial messes. 

These reversals are what has happened time and again in Elk Grove when our city attorney, who is one of the highest-paid municipal employees in the region, does not represent taxpayers. 

If history is any gauge, Hobbs lacks the courage to truth-tell and will bow to the personal whims of Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, and her four subordinates, damn the costs to taxpayers. With several projects in the pipeline like the possible relocation of the Sacramento Zoo to Elk Grove, taxpayers should be wary of Hobb's often shaky legal opinions, especially if it fits the political needs of Mayor Singh-Allen and her subordinates.  

But if misery likes company, it seems Elk Grove taxpayers are not the only ones subjected to a city attorney who kowtows to a city council exclusively interested in their political interests. In Part II, we examine a recent California Appellate decision reversing yet another bum legal opinion offered by a city attorney to serve the needs of politicians and not the taxpayers who pay their salary.  

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

According to the City's web page, "The City Attorney, and the City Attorney’s Office, represent the City of Elk Grove, as a government entity, acting through the City’s public officials and staff. The City Attorney does not directly represent individual residents of the City".

Sounds like Hobbs is running a poker game, where he sits there with all the chips holding a pair of deuces and daring anyone to call his bluff. Those who called his bet and won lived to tell their story; many more received a hush-hush settlement check; and some lost their shirts!

Gary Davis called the Council Chambers the "People's House". Like a casino though, the house always wins (most of the time!).

Eye on Elk Grove said...

I remember the Downtown Ford night. The "usual suspects" were in the back of council chambers telling Hobbs, "Don't do it Jon, we will get sued. Don't do it!" But, as we all know, he did it anyway. And in record time, Downtown Ford filed the lawsuit and won. Taxpayers lose again.

Renegade said...

No mention here of the fact that Mr. Hobbs rarely is able to represent the city without the assistance of his former law firm and the huge additional fees they charge for the work. This is despite the fact that Hobbs has convinced the city he needs more staffing and as stated he's the highest paid city employee in the Grove. What exactly are we getting for our money?....I mean besides poor legal advice?

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