Management of Fabulous Inns of America on Monday filed a 100-page brief in the 4th District Court of Appeal that detailed its position in the years-long Ping-Pong match for control of the small but profitable hotel company.
But the filing was anything but routine: It seemed to signal a breakdown in the on-again, off-again settlement talks between current management and the officials they forced from office in 1983 and 1984 amid charges of conflicts of interest and insider-dealing.
In May, San Diego Superior Court Judge G. Dennis Adams ruled that the ousted management should be reinstated after 10 weeks of hearings before a court-appointed "special master," or mediator, local attorney C. Hugh Friedman.
The appeal court agreed to hear the case and stayed Adams' order. In September, at the urging of Adams, settlement talks began in earnest. The last day for the appeal brief to be filed was Monday and, when no settlement was reached, the current management filed its documents.
The ousted management has 30 days to respond.
The continuing legal dispute could affect the company's announced plans to buy and develop the 22-acre Stardust Hotel site in Mission Valley. Current management said it believes that the deal will sour if the ousted management regains control of the company.
Bank's Promotions Only Go So Far
Promotion-minded Great American First Savings Bank, expanding into the Los Angeles and Bay Area markets through takeovers of troubled financial institutions, likes to sponsor sporting events.
But the San Diego-based savings bank is lopsided with employees who root for the home teams, and the thought of sponsoring the Los Angeles Raiders, Los Angeles Dodgers or any of the Bay Area teams makes some workers uneasy.
Of course, some things are far beyond Great American's control. Take, for example, the mural on the side of the North Hollywood headquarters of Los Angeles Federal Savings Bank, which has agreed to merge with Great American.
The mural is a 12-story caricature of, gasp, a Raiders football player.
Quipped one Great American executive: "We may sponsor a 'Smash-for-Cash' promotion."
San Dieguito Groups Roll Right Along
Deals come and deals go, and the souring of the proposed purchase of the Bank of La Costa by Chairman Lowell Hallock and a group of North County businessmen hasn't, apparently, dampened their entrepreneurial spirits.
The San Dieguito Group--led by Salvatore Osio, Robert Kleffel and Bruce Spear, who proposed to buy the bank--on Thursday will host a gala inauguration for the firm's Hacienda San Dieguito, a $10-million 70,000-square-foot corporate center just south of Del Mar Heights Road near Interstate 5.
The group will take about 20,000 square feet of space, according to Judy Zimbalist, director of commercial leasing. More than one-third of the building--patterned after a 17th-Century hacienda in Durango, Mexico--is already leased, she added.
It was Osio, chairman of the San Dieguito Group, who most strongly opposed the bank purchase after regulators imposed new financial requirements.