Costa Mesa to file RDA suit

Costa Mesa officials announced Tuesday that, after unanimous approval from the council, the city will sue to recover millions of dollars taken from its dissolved redevelopment agency.

Officials and attorneys could not confirm many details of the lawsuit, including the defendants, since the matter was discussed in a closed session.

City Attorney Tom Duarte said Tuesday that nearly $12.5 million associated with Costa Mesa's so-called RDA is at stake.

The city's RDA and all others throughout the state were disbanded last year as part of an austerity measure supported by Gov. Jerry Brown. For Costa Mesa, the RDA's mission since 1972 was to improve a nearly 200-acre portion of the city around the intersections of 19th Street, and Newport and Harbor boulevards.

In May, the city first announced its intent to sue after the state Department of Finance took a roughly $2.5-million Costa Mesa RDA loan. The funds were then supposed to be redistributed back to other agencies, including the school district.

Costa Mesa officials, however, argued that the money was rightfully the city's and should go back into its general fund.

"It's a theft of our money," city CEO Tom Hatch said in May. "We followed the rules, and we followed the law. ... We're going to pay it, but we're looking at legal options very clearly. The council doesn't feel this is right."


Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World