Development Firm Allowed to Join County in Marina Suit

Marina del Rey Properties Ltd., the development company that holds the master lease for Marina City Club, has been allowed to join the county in the legal defense of their controversial plan to sell 81-year leases on 600 apartments in the club's high-rise towers.

In a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Warren Deering allowed the action, according to Bruce R. Lederman of Latham & Watkins, the Los Angeles law firm representing the developer.

The Marina City Club Residents Assn. claimed in the lawsuit that Latham & Watkins had been improperly assisting the county in fighting the suit. It claimed that the law firm had a "direct and substantial conflict with the public interest" in representing the developer in the $150-million deal.

Robert W. Rodolf, deputy county counsel, responded that it was appropriate that the development company and its attorneys be involved because they are partners with the county in the long-term leasing plan. The lawsuit should have named the developer as a party of interest in the first place, he said.

At another hearing Monday, Deering rejected tenants' requests to delay testimony the county is seeking from residents to prepare its defense of the lawsuit, according to Lederman.

A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court on the suit, which seeks to overturn the county Board of Supervisors' approval of the plan.

Meanwhile, the Department of Beaches and Harbors plans to recommend that the Small Craft Harbor Commission and the Board of Supervisors approve the remaining elements of the plan, including lease prices and reassignment of the master lease to the J. H. Snyder Co. The commission will meet Nov. 19 and the supervisors Nov. 25.

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