H.B. part of a nine-city lawsuit against state

Nine cities, including Huntington Beach, filed a lawsuit this week to force the state to make good on millions of dollars for local officials to pay down debt and other obligations left over by the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, comes as so-called "successor agencies" — made up of various stakeholders in the wind down of redevelopment operations — wade through the arduous process of untangling assets and paying down existing debts.

The state is scheduled to release millions to the successor agencies on June 1 to pay down those remaining debts, but city officials claim they've received mixed messages on whether the money will come.

"We need to resolve this issue immediately and we felt the only way to ensure the state followed through with their required payment was to join with our fellow cities," Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Huntington Beach advanced $71.8 million to its former agency over the last 20 to 30 years. However, City Atty. Jennifer McGrath said the city is suing above all to challenge the state finance director's interpretation of Assembly Bill 26, which deals with redevelopment.

"It is a broader challenge than just the debt repayment," McGrath said in an email.

The other cities listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Pasadena, Glendale, Palmdale, Imperial Beach, Inglewood, National City, Hayward and Culver City.

— Jason Wells and Michael Miller

Twitter: @JasonBretWells; @MichaelMillerHB

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