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BREA : Councilwoman Loses Reconstruction Suit

A Superior Court judge has ruled against Councilwoman Kathryn E. Wiser and her husband, Douglas, in a lawsuit they filed against the city concerning reconstruction of their Olinda Village home.

In an interview, Superior Court Judge Theodore E. Millard said he ruled in favor of the city because the Wisers “failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit” regarding their problems with obtaining a building permit.

The Wisers had claimed the city refused to allow them to reconstruct their Olinda Village home after initially receiving approval.

Millard, however, said the Wisers should have appealed to the City Council about the city staff’s decision to revoke their building permit before filing their lawsuit in 1990. He said that the city acted responsibly regarding the Wisers’ permit.

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The couple said they plan to appeal Millard’s decision.

City officials said they were happy with Millard’s decision.

“The lawsuit wasn’t justified,” Assistant City Manager Tim O’Donnell said. “Unfortunately, the city’s charged with the public trust and we have to defend ourselves against lawsuits. . . . We were pleased to see that our plan check and inspection processes were validated as appropriate and reasonable by the judge.”

He said the city spent about $100,000 on its defense and would spend more if the Wisers appeal.

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