The Second District Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision that supported Redondo City Mayor Brand, Councilmember Nehernheim, and others for a lawsuit filed in 2017 related to the controversial CenterCal waterfront redevelopment project.
REDONDO BEACH一 On March 19, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld a 2019 ruling by the lower court that had two Redondo Beach residents paying almost $900,000 in legal fees to Mayor Bill Brand and Councilman Nils Nehrenheim.
In 2019, Judge Malcolm Mackey found a 2017 lawsuit claim from Redondo residents Chris Voisey and Arnette Travis to be unsubstantial and passed down a decision that Voisey and Travis would pay almost $896,000 in attorney fees for defendants Brand and Nehrenheim.
The judge also found Fred Bruning and John Paul Wardy of CenterCal partially responsible after it was revealed that CenterCal footed the bill for Voisey and Travis’ attorney fees, but that decision was voided by the appeal court.
The 2017 lawsuit claims that Brand and Nehrenheim coordinated with Rescue Our Waterfront to campaign for Measure C and that the PAC misclassified itself in campaign finance documents, according to a March 22 article from Daily Breeze.
Measure C was introduced to challenge the zoning laws and limit the size and scope of the revitalization of King Harbor, and as a response to a development project from CenterCal, which proposed a $400 million project to revitalize the harbor.
The measure was introduced to the ballot in 2016 and passed with more than 57 percent of the vote in March 2017, according to a March 8, 2017, article from the Log.
This lawsuit is one in a string of lawsuits that have surrounded the harbor revitalization. Councilmember Nehrenheim traced the beginning of the lawsuits back to a business agreement that was signed 35 days before Measure C passed.
“We had an exclusive negotiated agreement starting in 2012 and it expired on Jan. 31, 2017, the same day it expired, a Tuesday, they had it on the agenda to sign a business agreement with Redondo,” said Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim. “If [Councilmembers Emdee and Horvath] had let it expire there would have been no legal ramifications. Measure C was on the ballot to be voted on in March… They signed the business agreement [on] Feb. 1, 2017, contractually obligating the city to their marriage that allowed Redondo Waterfront to start suing immediately as Measure C passed because we allegedly violated the ALPIF… If they had not signed the agreement on Feb. 1, 2017, we would not have any of those lawsuits because they would have no standing.”
There is no indication if Voisey and Arnette will appeal to the California Supreme Court. Voisey declined to comment but told Daily Breeze in a March 22 article that he planned on pursuing other legal avenues.
With the recent series of wins on the legal front, Nehrenheim believes that it will give them to momentum to move forward with the master plan for the harbor revitalization that was presented to the city council on March 16.