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Santa Ana District Sues to Block Tustin Zoning

A deal to pay schools $60 million is at issue. Mayor says district officials are impeding payment.

November 22, 2002|Claire Luna | Times Staff Writer

In the latest twist in the protracted dispute over the closed Tustin Marine base, Tustin's mayor said Thursday that the Santa Ana Unified School District's efforts to bar the city from zoning the property will only "sabotage" their deal to pay the district $60 million.

At issue is how Tustin will guarantee the money it has agreed to pay the district for its share of the base.

The Santa Ana district took the city back to court last week, winning a temporary restraining order on zoning of the base pending a Dec. 2 hearing in Orange County Superior Court.

Mayor Jeffery M. Thomas, in a letter sent Thursday to school board President John Palacio, said the court order is "counterproductive" to the district being paid on time. "Unfortunately, the [school] district's attorneys are bent on shutting down zoning and sales of property at the base," Thomas wrote.

The city has said that obtaining a letter of credit would cost too much in bank fees. The district requested the letter so it could obtain a loan to start building schools before the scheduled May payment date, or a deed of trust if Tustin could not secure that letter.

The city and district disagree over whether Tustin tried hard enough to secure the letter before offering the deed.

Palacio did not return calls seeking comment.

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