A Superior Court judge in Santa Ana on Tuesday dismissed a taxpayer's suit against the city of San Juan Capistrano and its city manager, Stephen B. Julian, which challenged Julian's employment benefits.
The suit, brought by San Juan Capistrano attorney Carlos F. Negrete, charged that a $250,000 home loan made to Julian by the city, along with other non-salary benefits during the city manager's 11-year tenure, were improper and wasteful.
However, Judge David C. Velasquez ruled that "it is not for this court to say whether the city received a good deal or a poor one out of the negotiations."
The judge ordered Negrete to pay court costs and legal fees.
In his 14-page ruling, Velasquez found no evidence of illegal expenditures, waste, misuse of public funds or fraud. Both the housing loan and a subsequent loan agreement, he said, were "legal, valid and enforceable," and Julian's role in negotiating his employment agreements did not constitute a conflict of interest.