GV costs for lawsuit on fees mounting | TheUnion.com

GV costs for lawsuit on fees mounting

A contractor who alleges the city of Grass Valley charges too much for annexation and mitigation fees continues to fight his case in Nevada County Superior Court.

In the meantime, the city’s legal bills keep mounting.

Grass Valley city officials have already spent more than $51,000 on legal fees to fight the suit Grass Valley contractor Keoni Allen filed last spring.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to spend another $30,000 to pay the two Sacramento-based law firms hired to defend the city and City Administrator Gene Haroldsen, who was also named as a defendant.

More funding requests may be considered in the future, wrote City Attorney Claude Biddle in a Jan. 2 memorandum to the council.

The suit began last April when Allen alleged the city violated state law by overcharging him to develop a 50-lot residential neighborhood off West Main Street.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Carl F. Bryan ruled in November that most of the original causes of action, including allegations of fraud and breach of contract, were not warranted.

A month later, Allen filed an amended complaint alleging the city continues to overcharge developers.

“The city of Grass Valley continues to engage in a pattern of collecting fees, as they want, not on actual cost to provide these services to the public, as required by law,” according to Allen’s complaint.

Craig Diamond, Allen’s attorney, said he and his client will go to trial if they have to.

“Thus far (the city has) expressed no interest in trying to resolve the substantive issues we have raised,” Diamond said.

While Biddle wrote in his memorandum that the current suit bears little relationship to the original complaint, Diamond maintained the issues remain the same. “The current suit raises many of the same legal questions that were raised in the original suit,” Diamond said.

A settlement hearing has been scheduled for April 26 at 11 a.m. Trial has been set for April 30.

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