No Deceit by Developer, Attorney Says : Courts: Oxnard Dunes property owners accuse firm of failing to tell them land was used as a dump.


Denying that the Oxnard Shores Co. used deceit to sell property at the Oxnard Dunes, an attorney said Tuesday the development firm told Oxnard officials twice before anyone bought lots 20 years ago the site was an abandoned waste dump.

Defense attorney Christopher P. Bisgaard said the notification came in letters developers sent in 1962 and 1964 advising the city of an engineering firm’s plans to drill mud sumps on the property in order to dry up the waste dump.

During closing arguments, Bisgaard called the company’s efforts “full and complete disclosure, without qualification.”


Bisgaard’s statements contrasted sharply with comments made a day earlier by an attorney for three families suing over the issue.

The families are seeking unspecified damages from Oxnard Shores, the city and numerous other defendants in the complex, four-month trial.

They say the defendants failed to tell them of the former use of the land they were purchasing. Since discovery of the toxic dump under the 100-home development nine years ago, their property has lost virtually all of its value, the plaintiffs claim.

At one time, 175 residents joined in the lawsuit in Ventura County Superior Court. All but the three remaining families agreed to an undisclosed out-of-court settlement last year.

In the first day of closing arguments, plaintiffs’ attorney Lawrence M. Schulner told the jury Monday that Oxnard Shores and the city neglected to warn home buyers of the waste dump because of greed.

Bisgaard, however, tried to counter that on Tuesday, saying Oxnard Shores’ only responsibility was to notify the city of the waste dump.


“I ask the question, what more could Oxnard Shores have done to disclose this information?” Bisgaard said.

Schulner had suggested in his arguments that Oxnard Shores could have notified the California Department of Real Estate.

But Bisgaard discounted that. He said the real estate department would not have notified the buyers of the property of the waste dump even if it had known of it.

Bisgaard said the real estate department only gives information on land to the original buyers--which in this case would have been Oxnard Shores.

On the other hand, he said, the city of Oxnard could have readily provided the plaintiffs with information on the past use of the land, if the city had been so inclined.

“The only conceivable place where these plaintiffs could have received historical information concerning the Dunes was the city of Oxnard,” Bisgaard said.


He also said one of the plaintiffs, Steven Blanchard, has no claim to damages from the company because Blanchard’s house is not in the sump area.

Pointing at Blanchard, who sat at the plaintiffs’ table with his attorney, Bisgaard told the jury: “Like a drowning man, Mr. Blanchard grabs at anything in a desperate attempt to remain afloat.”

Blanchard, on the advice of Schulner, declined to respond to the portrayal.

Bisgaard also said the plaintiffs’ charge that the waste dump was covered up with clean sand is a non-issue.

He said Schulner likes to make that charge “because he likes to talk about the literal cover-up.” But Bisgaard said it was common practice to pour a sand blanket on newly developed land.

The defense is expect to conclude its arguments today. The case will go to the jury after Schulner gives a rebuttal.