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Mission Viejo

August 09, 2000|Sean Kirwan, (949) 574-4202

Three members of the City Council violated California's open meeting laws during a closed session meeting last year, according to a decision handed down Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court. Judge Eileen C. Moore ruled that Mayor Sherri Butterfield and council members Susan Withrow and William Craycraft unlawfully criticized and intimidated fellow Councilman John Paul Ledesma during a closed session meeting on April 19, 1999. Their comments were made regarding two proposals Ledesma had placed on the open session agenda of that meeting. Moore ruled that the three council members violated six elements of the Ralph M. Brown Act and she ordered closed session meetings of the council be tape-recorded for the next two years. The recordings will not be made public but will be available to the courts if future violations of the act are alleged. The lawsuit was filed last year by three residents of Mission Viejo, who are members of a local government watchdog group.

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