Despite the city’s victory in a two-year court battle over the legality of City Councilman Cameron Cosgrove’s election, the City Council on Friday decided not to seek reimbursement for $10,000 in legal fees incurred by the city in the case.
Instead, the council voted unanimously to accept a maximum of $1,000 from plaintiffs Howard Klein and Christina Bustos-Thomas in exchange for their agreement not to appeal the case or make further public comment on it.
Councilwoman Paula Werner said that though the city probably could recover the entire $10,000, taking a $9,000 loss was worthwhile just to conclude the matter.
An Orange County judge decided earlier this year that Cosgrove was legally elected to his post in 1988. Klein and Bustos-Thomas had argued that Cosgrove was seated illegally after that election to fill two vacant seats. Cosgrove placed third in the election but was appointed to fill the unfinished term of Councilman Larry Agran, who was elected mayor.
The plaintiffs say that Measure D, a city charter amendment that passed in the same election, gave residents the right to petition for a new election to fill the seat vacated by Agran.
Klein and Bustos-Thomas contended that Cosgrove’s appointment could be challenged because Measure D went into effect before Cosgrove was sworn in.