Waterfront developer court-ordered to pay $900,000 in legal fees to Redondo Beach

Another strike goes against developer CenterCal Properties, who at one time were slated to build $400 million waterfront shopping center in Redondo Beach.

REDONDO BEACH—Redondo Beach has won yet another battle with developer CenterCal Properties, a developer who had been slated to update the city’s historic waterfront. The Daily Breeze reported that a Superior Court judge ordered the developer to shell out $900,000 in attorney’s fees accrued by the city.

Judge Malcolm Mackey, who presided over this case and a prior one in 2018, called the lawsuit “frivolous.” In the previous lawsuit, Mackey called the lawsuit a “sham.” Two Redondo Beach residents, Chris Voisey and Arnette Travis, filed the lawsuit in 2017, denying CenterCal was funding it; however, it was later revealed CenterCal was paying attorney fees to support the lawsuit.

The hostility between the city and CenterCal began after city residents voted to pass Measure C, a movement to restrict waterfront in Redondo Beach in 2017. CenterCal, in 2018 during a California Coastal Commission meeting concerning the development, served residents with lawsuits. The developer also threatened a new lawsuit over the BeachLife Festival, a music festival that took place in May with a lineup included big-name rockers like Willie Nelson, Bob Weir, Brian Wilson and many others.

Jim Light, who serves on Redondo Beach Harbor Commission, recently commented on a story penned for The Log about a waterfront shopping center called 2nd & PCH, also a CenterCal development.

Commissioner Light, who opposed CenterCal’s “mall by the sea” project and supported Rescue Our Waterfront watchdog group, stated, “CenterCal is famous for ignoring the community and the environmental impacts of their projects. In Redondo, people were so upset that CenterCal was ignoring their concerns that by the last public visioning session, CenterCal did not allow public comment … In the end, despite thousands of comments from the public, CenterCal pressed ahead with its plan and with a very flawed EIR. It took resident action to get the Coastal Commission to void the development permits and a judge to throw out the EIR and order the city rescind its project approvals. The Coastal Commission unanimously voted the project had substantial issues with compliance with Redondo’s Local Coastal Program and with the California Coastal Act.”

Light continued, “All this shows that CenterCal is willing to violate the law with its projects and when it does not get its way they are willing to sue the bejesus out of their opponents. CenterCal is bad news for any community.”

Light’s full comment can be read online at thelog.com.

Share This:

4 thoughts on “Waterfront developer court-ordered to pay $900,000 in legal fees to Redondo Beach

  • July 11, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Hi, I know nothing about this development or developer, however, I am capable of recognizing biased reporting when I see It. No developer wants to violate the law (that would expose them as well as the city to litigation which equals delay and added cost). You forgot to mention the City Council approved the EIR then the project and the public process involved in that process. Your second paragraph talks about 2 other lawsuits and does not tie this litigation to the award of attorneys fees to the City. This case has nothing to do with the Project and its status or lack there of. It is about the City’s effoerts to recover attorneys costs. Try to do better at reporting the facts and less emphasis on interjecting your personal bias.

    • July 18, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      I disagree with your assessment. Developers don’t knowingly try to skirt CEQA or zoning? Of course they do….

      CenterCal clearly wanted to push the envelope on our zoning, the Coastal Act and CEQA. The residents, as required by CEQA, had highlighted all the disconnects and abuses of discretion. And yes, the Council, dominated by Chamber of Commerce plants were so biased and jaded they approved the project and EIR despite all the violations.

      However, unbiased parties, a judge and all Coastal Commissioners, sided with the residents’ assessments… The EIR violated CEQA. And the project violated local zoning and the Coastal Act. The judge ordered the city to rescind and correct the flawed EIR and to pull all approvals until the EIR was fixed and the project complied. The Coastal Commission unanimously agreed that the project represented “significant issues” with the City’s zoning and the Coastal Act… they voided the Coastal Development Permits. So CenterCal clearly tried to get away with “bending the rules” – and they got caught. Somehow two independent, unconflicted government parties found that the project and its EIR broke the law… but CenterCal couldn’t see it? Get real.

      So what did CenterCal do? They sued the City multiple times. And they personally sued the main opponents to their plan. CenterCal tried to mask their funding of the latter lawsuit by getting two residents to put their names on the lawsuit. When the judge forced the plaintiffs’ purported lawyer to disclose who paid him, the lawyer begrudgingly admitted CenterCal (through Redondo Waterfront LLC) was really backing the lawsuit. Even the judge thought that smelled – so he called the lawsuit a “sham” and the two residents who fronted the lawsuit “shills”. The same judge awarded the $900K in legal fees to the attorneys of the individuals CenterCal harassed with their bogus lawsuit.

      The City has not gotten legal fees – in fact, the lawsuits CenterCal filed against the City have not yet been resolved. And when the city held a three day event in the harbor, CenterCal filed yet another lawsuit.

      Clearly, CenterCal thought they could ram their mall down our throats and when they saw it wasn’t going to happen they filed vindictive lawsuits that continue to delay waterfront revitalization today.

    • July 26, 2019 at 11:30 pm

      Actually David, your totally off base and incorrect. As the recipient of $378,000 of the $900,000 (the one who was maliciously sued from CenterCal, through shills and and shams, I can tell you multiple illegal actions on their part. For instance, they lied about funding the personal lawsuit against us. Secondly, they lied about being compliant on the zoning. Both of which was struck down by a court. The EIR was found to be invalid and just because a Council votes for an EIR, doesn’t make the EIR valid. I will say that this is a badly written article, does not say what is truly going on and I, as a sitting councilman in Redondo and the one being sued and now reported on, wasn’t even called for a quote of clarification. That’s not good reporting!

  • July 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    The $900K was for the attorneys of the individuals CenterCal sued. CenterCal’s lawsuits with the City have not been resolved yet.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *