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Developer in Gold Line Dispute with City Releases Letter on Lawsuit

A developer who has filed a $106 million lawsuit against Monrovia regarding the city's plans to build a parking structure for the incoming Gold Line station has issued a public letter about the dispute.

A developer who has sued Monrovia for $106 million for an alleged breach of contract over an issue with a planned parking structure along the Gold Line extension has released a letter expressing hope that the dispute will be settled on "fair terms" so a planned commercial development surrounding the Monrovia's future Gold Line station can go forward.

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.

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.

According to the letter writer, Blaine Fetter, the firm decided to issue the letter in response to city communications about the lawsuit published in the city's newsletter, Monrovia Today.

Below is the full text of the letter:

Tenants & Friends

Re: Samuelson & Fetter v. Monrovia Lawsuit

Dear Friends,

Many of you have asked us about the City’s message in the latest issue of Monrovia Today regarding a lawsuit we filed in late August against the City of Monrovia and its now-defunct Redevelopment Agency.  Although we believe the groundwork for a constructive resolution of issues has been laid out, the City has elected to make our dispute public.

Historically speaking, Boone Fetter and Samuelson & Fetter have developed over 7,000,000 square feet of commercial space in Los Angeles County.  Boone Fetter was asked to consider developing here in Monrovia in 1977.  The City's staff and council of that era liked our strong track record, the philosophy of long-term holding of our properties, and our strong brand equity in the greater Los Angeles market.  They believed that we would be able to attract important employers to Monrovia and they were 100% correct.

Our success in Monrovia moved us to relocate our headquarters here in 1992.  Upon relocating, we expanded our philanthropic work to include many of the City's most deserving institutions: The Boys & Girls Club, The YMCA, Monrovia Unified School District, Habitat for Humanity, and many other smaller programs.

Additionally, as the City's largest property taxpayer, we are the largest supporter of the bonds for the Hillside acquisition and maintenance, and Monrovia's beautiful new library.

The companies we have attracted to Monrovia include Aerovironment, City of Hope, Edison, Farmers Insurance, Green Dot, HP, MWH Eurofins, Oracle, Seebeyond, WorleyParsons, and Xerox.  Their employees fill our beautiful downtown every day for lunch and dinner.  We also have other new and exciting prospects for space in our buildings.

We continue to fulfill the mission we promised to the City of Monrovia all the way back in 1977.

After six years and millions of dollars of design and predevelopment expenses, in 2009 we signed a Disposition and Development Agreement, as did the City, for the development of the Parks at Monrovia Station Square site.  We paid the City $110,000 in additional fees and entitled the project surrounding the Gold Line station.  Since that time, the Redevelopment Agency has been dissolved, and earlier this year we discovered that the City's staff purported to sign a binding contract to sell the majority of our first development site to the Metro Gold Line for the construction of a parking lot.  For years, we were consistently told by the City that this structure was planned for another location.

The lawsuit which the City addressed in its letter is an action we took as a last resort as part of our eight year effort to accomplish development around the new Gold Line station.

We are committed to settlement of the dispute on fair terms which facilitate the development of this critical project.  The failure on both parties to settle our dispute amicably will undoubtedly cause the lawsuit to move forward.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

 Blaine Fetter

 

Dan Crandell October 24, 2012 at 04:24 AM
What just happened here. Mr Fetter felt the need to inform us that because the City of Monrovia informed us, "went public", about his lawsuit he felt it necessary to inform us that for that reason he is also going public with his case against the City of Monrovia. In that he has business in this city other then actual business with the city he is wishing for a speedy solution from all involved parties so that this does not get real ugly. Sounds like he's asking for our help or he'll continue this suit. No he wouldn't do that, would he? Well why not just ask him ... OK I will. Mr. Fetter ... What do you want from us?
Richard Christy October 24, 2012 at 07:00 PM
What's so hard to understand, Dan? The city puts out a glossy response to the citizens of the city about the lawsuit, that paints Mr Fetter's company as a greedy, evil entity. He responds to spell out his case that he's not an enemy of the city and has contributed to the growth and success over the years. Monrovia is known for signing agreements with land owners and developers, then later just going another direction as if there was no agreement. (Brokate?)
Gayle M. Montgomery October 24, 2012 at 09:47 PM
While I understand why Mr. Fetter felt the need to send an open letter, it also deserves a response. Mr. Fetter and his company has benefitted handsomely via its work on behalf of the City. It wasn't just volunteer service, and it didn't get to be our largest taxpayer because they were not getting fee for service. You were adopted by Monrovia as a resident, and now you have come back to bite the hand that fed you and all of your siblings and neighbors. Those entities you so graciously supported will only suffer if your extortionary lawsuit prevails. It has already cost the City via its damaged credit rating. I fully understand the concept of honoring one's agreements, but a Gold Line station cannot exist without a place for its patrons to park. If we had had a crystal ball, given the vituperative nature of your suit, we should have let you build, and then taken it back by eminent domain. I hope calmer heads will prevail, and you will come to some sort of middle ground on this. Your company can pick up stakes, but most Monrovians would go nowhere else. This is just a sad state of affairs.
Dan Crandell October 24, 2012 at 11:31 PM
@Richard Christy I have seen the City's response but I must have missed the "glossy" part of it. Nor do I recall the "greedy evil entity part. A lawsuit is not friendly so the "enemy" part I understand but I'm still perplexed. Richard do you have some connection to this case?

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