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Muñoz most aggressive of 24 county cities in litigation efforts to usurp money from local agencies

By   /   January 18, 2014  /   Comments Off

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jokerUpdated 1-18-14 @ 7:21 pm:

Twentynine Palms – A. Partick  Muñoz , 29 Palms outside counsel, with Rutan & Tucker, a hundred year old California law firm, one of the largest law firms in California — is the most aggressive of San Bernardino County’s 24 cities in bring protracted litigation against San Bernardino County and the State of California. 

Muñoz and his 29 Palms City Council’s intent is to usurp huge sums of money from other local taxing agencies. 

The Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree is experiencing a financial crises, as well the TPFD is looking at bankruptcy and unable to adequately protect the city.

Muñoz used his official position to influence a governmental decision which he had a material interest when he encouraged the city to (1) incurred a 30-year, $30 million bond debt, and concurrently (2) he negotiated a lucrative fee arrangement for a  percentage of the entire bond amount including spiked hourly legal fees — to which thus far netted him $100,000,000 according  to the California Attorney General — all of which with the blessing of the then city council (two city council members are presently seated on the city council: Dan Mintz and Jay Corbin. 

PP is no longer in effect and defunct. However,  Muñoz continues to shake-down taxpayers and to this day continues to make huge sums of money from PP. All with the blessing of the city council, even though he was present when the city council conduced and sat through two (2) illegal closed city council meetings. 

After which in late 2013 the entire seated five city council members voted to give  Muñoz favorable employment evaluation.

Preceding introduction written by Branson Hunter; the following story posted by Branson Hunter.

State Uses Attorney General To Fight 29 Palms’ Effort To Keep RDA Funds (posted 10-17-2014)

The state of California has struck back at the city of Twentynine Palms’ cutting edge effort to preserve bond proceeds issued by its former redevelopment agency.

In 2011, the state legislature at Governor Jerry Brown’s behest passed Assembly Bills XI 26 and XI 27, two redevelopment agency shuttering laws which closed out all municipal and county redevelopment efforts statewide. A coalition of cities fought the law, but the state Supreme Court upheld the measure.

While 317 of the state’s 482 incorporated cities went along with the new law without question and shut down their redevelopment agencies, 165 cities have resisted the state on the issue. That resistance ranged  from registering relatively mild protests to filing lawsuits against the state and its Department of Finance, which is the entity designated under the law to make a determination with regard to how the money that was in the possession of the former redevelopment agencies is to be disbursed.

Twentynine Palms, led by its city attorney A. Patrick Muñoz of the law firm Ruttan & Tucker,

At stake in the matter for Twentynine Palms, a city of 25,048 in San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert outback,  are two tax allocation bonds issued for a total of $8.5 million. Those bonds were intended to defray the cost of Project Phoenix, a downtown revitalization which is to include a community center, a 250-seat theater, classrooms, a civic plaza, a park, a paseo, residential units, a wastewater treatment plant, and improvements to the downtown fire station. The last of the bonds were issued three months before  AB X1 26 and AB X1 27 passed and went into effect.

Based on an analysis by Muñoz, the Twentynine Palms City Council publicly asserted that that AB X1 26 and AB X1 27 are trumped by federal securities regulations, meaning the money the Twentynine Palms Redevelopment Agency bonded for in 2011 must be utilized only for the purpose that bondholders were told the money would be applied toward.

The city followed Muñoz’s recommendation to have the successor agency to the redevelopment agency lay claim to the redevelopment money and declare its intent to proceed with Project Phoenix.  AB X1 26 and AB X1 27 provided for the creation of locally based oversight boards to direct the discharging of remaining redevelopment money.  In  May 2012, Muñoz drafted a contract between the successor agency and the city by which the  successor agency turned over the bond spending authority to the city with a directive that it go toward Project Phoenix. On a 4-1 vote on May 22, 2012 the city council voted unanimously to transfer the seven-member oversight board’s duties and obligations to administer the bond proceeds to “the city in its capacity as a municipal corporation.”

To reinforce that action, on February 26, 2013, the city council authorized Muñoz to file litigation against the Department of Finance so the city could move forward with the expenditure of the bond proceeds. The city took the position that the bond documents are contracts that created specific obligations between the city, as the issuer, and the bond purchasers, and as such are enforceable obligations such that the state cannot interfere with them. Moreover, according to Munoz, the city would be violating IRS and SEC regulations as well as put the tax exempt status of the bonds in jeopardy if it does not spend the money for the purpose for which the bonds were issued.

AB X1 26 and AB X1 27 contained a provision requiring any municipalities that contested the law to do so in Sacramento Superior Court.  The California Department of Finance is being represented by the California Attorney General’s Office’s civil division in the case. On December 23, the California Attorney General’s Office laid out an answer to Twentynine Palms’ legal action preparatory to an upcoming January 24 hearing on the matter.

Much more on this story @ SB County Sentinel

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About the author

Branson Hunter

Senior Corespondent At Large

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

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