The City Council will vote Tuesday on a proposal to hire a public relations firm for $8,000 per month to provide "public relation services and litigation support" for the city after a developer sued the city for $106 million for an alleged breach of contract.
Local developer Samuelson & Fetter sued Monrovia in August and alleged that the city breached a contract by allowing the Gold Line Construction Authority to build a parking structure that allegedly interfered with the developer's Station Square Transit Village plans.
Monrovia City Manager Laurie Lile wants to hire public relations firm Cerrell Associates to create a "public outreach campaign" related to the lawsuit, according to a city staff report Lile wrote.
"Moving forward, it is critically important to embark on a public outreach campaign that will inform Monrovia residents and our community the facts of the lawsuit, as well as provide litigation support," the report states. "The proposed Agreement with Cerrell outlines a messaging campaign, a public outreach plan, a media relations plan, and support with the litigation process."
If approved, the city would enter into a 90-day contract with Cerrell, paying the firm a total of $24,000 through December. Rejecting the proposed agreement "may result in a lack of information being distributed to residents and the community about these critical legal and development issues," Lile wrote.
Samuelson & Fetter alleges that the city agreed to work with the GLCA to build its parking structure so that it would not adversely affect the firm's ability to develop its own adjacent land. The developer says it agreed to proceed based on the city's "false" representations that the parking lots would not interfere with its plans.
The city maintains that the state's elimination of redevelopment agencies threw a wrench in Gold Line development plans and alleges that Samuelson & Fetter failed to procure the land it needed for its plans to progress.