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Fountain Valley : Council Approves Drug Sign Removal

April 22, 1993|DEBRA CANO

The City Council has approved a settlement agreement that allows a condominium owner to remove court-ordered signs posted in front of his home that say drugs are not be sold on the premises.

In return, Garrie Charles Culver must abide by a list of restrictions outlined in a permanent injunction and pay the city $1,000.

The city had filed a civil lawsuit against Culver in June, 1992, in an unusual legal tactic to stop alleged drug activity at his condo. Culver was never arrested or charged with drug dealing.

Nevertheless, the city won a preliminary injunction last July, when a judge ordered Culver to post signs outside his condo that said the premises were not to be used for the sale of drugs.

Since then, Culver's attorney, Emmett Raitt, has tried unsuccessfully to get the injunction lifted.

The settlement agreement, approved by the council Tuesday night, provides for a permanent injunction that bans Culver's sister-in-law, who is suspected of drug dealing, from Culver's property for 10 years and prohibits Culver from using, selling or possessing drugs on his property for five years. It allows Culver to remove the signs and orders him to pay the city $1,000, payable in two years.

"Our objective has been to stop the drug dealing--and not necessarily inflict penalties," said City Atty. Alan R. Burns. "And we have apparently stopped the drug traffic that was suspected of going on."

Burns said the city has spent more than $20,000 to pursue the case.

Raitt said that if the case had gone to trial and Culver had lost, Culver would have faced penalties including losing his home at 11800 Tulip Court, where he has lived for 21 years.

Raitt said Culver denies the allegations by the city and believes that "if we had proceeded on with (the case) he would have been successful."

"But the risk was too great. All he has is his home and it's not something (he) can afford to lose," Raitt said.

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