Judge lets Facilities Management intervene

SANTA ANA — An Orange County Superior Court judge on Tuesday granted Newport Beach-based developer Facilities Management West the right to intervene in a lawsuit filed by a group of small businesses in hopes of blocking the planned sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds.

"We have absolutely every right to be heard," said Thomas Gibbs, attorney for Facilities Management, which plans to purchase the 150-acre property for $100 million. "We're here because this matter affects us."

Judge Frederick P. Horn, who last week ordered the state Department of General Services to temporarily halt sale proceedings, allowed Facilities Management to become a party in the case because he said every part of this issue should be heard.

"Why would the court not include everybody at the table so the court could assess what's taking place? The court wants to know all the issues concerned," Horn said.

Thierry Montoya, the attorney representing Advance Realty Services Inc., one of the plaintiffs, said allowing Facilities Management to intervene changes the dynamics of the case.

"We got issues of constitutionality, we got issues with the state, with DGS's failure to follow the (state) Public Records Act," Montoya said. "It has nothing to do with FMW."

The plaintiffs are being led by Jeff Teller, president of Tel Phil Enterprises Inc., the company that runs the weekly swap meet at the fairgrounds and many of its tenants. They are seeking to block the state from selling the fairgrounds to the developer.

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