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Two New Lawsuits Filed Against Gold Line, City

Local property owner George Brokate's two latest lawsuits accuse Monrovia and the Gold Line Construction Authority of improperly pushing through Gold Line projects.

Bringing his lawsuit count against Monrovia and the Gold Line Construction Authority to a whopping six, local property owner George Brokate recently filed two new suits against the GLCA and city that each agency characterizes as a legal ploy to extract more money for his Evergreen Avenue land.

In separate lawsuits against each agency filed last month, Brokate's attorneys Robert P. Silverstein and Christopher Sutton accuse the city and GLCA of taking illegal action in order to expedite the Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project.

Brokate's most recent suit against Monrovia alleges that the city violated the state's environmental review process by approving a . Brokate's attorneys argue that such a law would have an impact on the environment and must therefore comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The city's action in adopting the continuation ordinance "constitutes a prejudicial abuse of discretion in that (the city) failed to proceed in the manner required by law and failed to support their decision by substantial evidence...," Silverstein and Sutton wrote in the civil complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Sept. 13.

City Manager Scott Ochoa said he had not reviewed Brokate's lawsuit but added that he was familiar with the allegations, which he dismissed as "specious at best."

Ochoa said Brokate has repeatedly filed lawsuits against the city and GLCA as an "obstructionist" tactic to delay the Gold Line Foothill Extension and force the GLCA to pay an exorbitant amount for his land on Evergreen Avenue. The GLCA needs the land to build a maintenance yard for the Foothill Extension.

"It's basically his effort to try and slow down and stymie anything the city does until such time he, or his client, gets what he wants," Ochoa said. "This has nothing to do with the city. This has to do with his negotiations with the GLCA for the property for which he wants four times the appraised value."

Brokate's lawsuit against the GLCA accuses the board of improperly awarding a to design and construct the Gold Line Foothill extension.

In that suit, filed on Sept. 23, Silverstein and Sutton argue that the GLCA should have separated the design and build phases into separate contracts with separate bidding processes. Awarding one design-build contract was illegal, they say.

"(GLCA) has a plain, clear, and ministerial duty under law to not award contracts jointly for design aspects and construction aspects of public works contracts, and must keep such contracts separate," Brokate's attorneys wrote in the civil complaint.

Lisa Levy Buch, a spokeswoman for the GLCA, also described the lawsuits as nothing more than a tactic to influence the GLCA's negotiations with Brokate.

"We don't think that it has merit," Buch said. "In general, we just think this is the latest in an ongoing series in harrassing lawsuits that this property owner is dreaming up."

The latest lawsuits mark the fifth and sixth legal challenges against the city and GLCA filed by Brokate in the last two years. Brokate lost a case in February that alleged the city violated the Brown Act in putting together a plan for the , a massive mixed-use development planned in anticipation of the Gold Line.

Silverstein and Sutton also that the GLCA's board of directors illegally held other elected posts in cities like Monrovia, representing a conflict of interest. The filing led to legislation that expressly , but not before as an alternate board member.

In addition to those legal challenges, two other lawsuits filed by Brokate remain pending. In one, Brokate's attorneys in Monrovia needed for the Gold Line Foothill Extension to progress.

In the other, by selling land to the GLCA and effectively inviting eminent domain action against him.

Despite the local legal maneuvering, the Foothill Extension challenging the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. That suit might not be resolved until January, and if they have to put the design-build contract back up for bid.

Joe Black October 04, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Apparently Mr. Bigger is all for trampling on people’s rights as long as they benefit him. Mr. Brokate owns the land that the City of Monrovia had no business offering it as a site for a maintenance yard. Did you ever think of how much that land would be worth if the Gold line came through? I am sure Mr. Brokate has. Mr. Borkate has paid his taxes on the Property so he has the right to use it as he sees fit as long as he is not violating any laws. Mr Bigger, I believe that special place you refer to is reserved for people like you, our City Manager and Mayor who wish to use eminent domain to get whatever they want. I wonder if you would feel the same way if it was you land.
Steve Buckner October 05, 2011 at 02:34 AM
Spot on Joe.
LAofAnaheim October 05, 2011 at 06:07 PM
So one individual can hold up progress and transportation that will serve 10K daily transit riders? Does this seem right to anybody? If he loved his country and his fellow neighbors, he would negotiate a fair asking price for his property and hand it over to the GLCA. His lawsuits are costing YOU, the taxpayers, unneeded expenses. This is a transit project that will benefit thousands in Los Angeles county. Let the drivers on the I-10 through Arcadia, Duarte, Monrovia know that one individual is preventing a reasonable transit alternative being built. One person.
Joe Black October 05, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Wow, now an individual is unamerican if they don’t want to sell their land to the government. It is not one person who is holding up this project, but rather the many people on the GLCA and the cities along the proposed route who have run this project into the ground. There are several sites that would much better suited for this maintenance yard but the GLCA and the City of Monrovia have chosen to go after this one man’s land because it is easier, not better, than getting the other cities along the Gold Line to offer up land. These agencies have collectively failed all of us not the one individual who wants to protect his property.
Iamsam October 07, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Are you kidding LAofAnaheim he is costing taxpayers and un american? I think he is paying his attorney fees himself and if the city did not enter an agreement to sell his land out from under him they would not be in this mess. Why don't you sell your property for the better good of your neighbors, a new park is needed, how about a maintenance yard on your front lawn? Once again when is it anyone else's right to tell another what to do with their property?
Steve Buckner October 07, 2011 at 04:01 AM
What's costing taxpayers is ALL the lawsuits. The amount of money the city dishes out fighting everyone from City Employees, Unions, to its property owners. The best thing going in Monrovia is to own a sign company, Very busy.

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