Anaheim Should Tell Legal Costs


We don’t know who is legally right in the bitter dispute between the City of Anaheim and the California Angels over development of the Anaheim Stadium parking lot. We do know that it is wrong for the city to continue to hide from taxpayers the cost of the litigation.

The legal battle has been going on for more than two years at great financial expense to the Angels and the city. The Angels have admitted spending more than $1.5 million in legal costs, an amount they claim is much less than what the city has already spent.

But the city is not talking. It does acknowledge $307,694 in legal fees for one of the five legal actions involving the Angels, but it refuses to tell taxpayers precisely how much more of their money has been spent in total so far in the legal brouhaha.


Anaheim officials should disclose the amount. The public has not only a legitimate concern but also a financial interest and ought to be kept posted on the details.

In order to get that information, The Times has filed a formal request under the state Public Records Act asking the city to release its records so there can be a public accounting of legal expenses incurred. The city has rejected the request, claiming that it has the legal right to withhold records pertaining to pending litigation until that legal action is resolved.

Whether the city has the legal right to keep its expenses secret at this point is still in dispute. But even if it technically is able to do so, it shouldn’t.

The intent of the state legislation designed to keep public records public is to help people stay informed about what their elected officials are doing and how tax dollars are being spent. Anaheim city officials should be showing more concern for the spirit of that disclosure law and responsible representation by telling taxpayers how much is being spent in legal fees, rather than looking for ways to keep their spending secret.