SUN VALLEY — The Los Angeles City Council agreed Tuesday to pay $427,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the firm that rebuilt the Sun Valley public swimming pool, alleging that the city and its architect were responsible for design problems and cost overruns.
Councilman Joel Wachs voted against the settlement, criticizing City Atty. James Hahn and Recreation and Parks Commission President Steve Soboroff, both rival mayoral candidates, for releasing the architect from liability.
"It was completely irresponsible to let the architect off the hook," Wachs said. "It is costing the city now $427,000."
Southwest Engineering sued the city, claiming that it suffered $1.1 million in damages because of delays and disruptions caused by the city's private architectural firm, Architrave.
The city dismissed Architrave from the project in 1995 after problems including design flaws resulted in 112 change orders, 410 days' delay and a $337,000 increase in the project cost, or 30%.
But in dismissing the architect, Soboroff and a representative for Hahn signed an agreement releasing the Architrave from liability on the project.
A confidential report by Hahn to the council Tuesday recommended settlement, citing the many documents by city staff that criticized the architect and design and the release agreement that made the city solely responsible for design problems.
Soboroff said the parks panel approved the release of the architect's liability as part of a settlement agreement recommended by the city attorney. Hahn declined to respond to Wachs' criticism.