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South Bay Digest

Hermosa Beach : Developer to Pay Legal Fees

May 15, 1986

Developers Greenwood & Langlois have agreed to reimburse $33,150 the city has spent in legal fees in ongoing court challenges involving last June's special election on a proposed hotel.

In the settlement, announced this week at the City Council meeting by City Atty. James P. Lough, the developers also agreed to pay future legal expenses resulting from the disputed election. However, they will reimburse only those future expenses incurred by the city attorney's office, not by outside attorneys.

The city attorney is defending the city in the case involving the disputed election and has billed the developers for $8,000. City Clerk Kathleen Midstokke, also a defendant in the court action, chose an outside attorney to represent her at city expense. She has accumulated $25,000 in legal fees, which the developer has agreed to pay, Lough said.

The city has already been reimbursed $25,796 from the Brentwood-based development company for the cost of the election. When Greenwood & Langlois proposed the beachfront hotel on the site of the former Biltmore, city owned property between 13th and 15th streets, the company agreed to pay those costs. At that time, however, city officials said it was unclear whether all expenses--including legal costs arising from challenges--would be paid by the firm.

Both the city and the city clerk's handling of the election were challenged in court last July after the proposed hotel lost by several votes out of about 4,800 cast. The challenges resulted in a one-vote victory for the hotel proposal, but in a separate court action, opponents of the hotel have charged that the election should never have been held. That action is pending in court.

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