OCCORD & Cory Briggs Lose GardenWalk Hotels Lawsuit; Tait Wages Guerrilla War Against Latest Hotel Deals

The leftist advocacy group Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) has lost it more than three-year-long litigation against the economic assistance agreement between the City of Anaheim and the developer of the GardenWalk Hotels project. Orange County Superior Court Judge David McEachen ruled again against OCCORD and Briggs; appealing to the California Supreme Court is now their only option for keeping the nuisance lawsuit alive.

In it’s lawsuit, OCCORD has been selling the claim there was a “quid pro quo” of campaign donations for council approval in violation of state law.

Judge McEachen wasn’t buying, noting that “other than using the words “quid pro quo”” neither OCCORD nor Briggs managed to produce even an allegation – let alone evidence – of trading votes for contributions “or even that there was anything like a wink-wink-nudge-nudge implied understanding to vote in the contributor’s interest. No such allegations are made.”

You can read the judge’s ruling here.

The OCCORD/Briggs lawsuit has been derided as frivolous and doomed from the beginning, and the litigation has been repeatedly brushed back in court (see here and here). They have only succeeded in driving up the cost of the GardenWalk Hotels project delaying it, although the luxury hotels development is moving forward – with one of the hotels already branded as a 4-Diamond JW Marriott.

That is what progressives like OCCORD and Briggs do: delay and obstruct others who are risking capital to build and create jobs and opportunity while contributing little themselves. OCCORD progenitor and bankroller, the militant hotel workers union UNITE-HERE, is using the referendum process in an attempt to extort hotelier The Wincome Group into forcing employees of its two planned 4-Diamond hotels to join the union.

Tonight, OCCORD and UNITE-HERE’s political ally, Mayor Tom Tait, will be waging guerrilla warfare of a similar nature against those two hotel projects and Disney’s planned 4-Diamond hotels. The mayor requested agendizing a re-hash of the  July 12 council vote approving the development agreements and TOT tax rebate agreements for the three projects.

Tait also agendized discussion of a particular aspect of one of the Wincome projects – the redevelopment of the 358-room Anabella Hotel as a 634-room luxury property. The mayor apparently believes it is a good use of the public’s time to once again discuss the Wincome Group purchasing a triangular piece of land adjacent to the Anabella Hotel while selling the city an easement on a similar size parcel for Convention Center parking.

What Mayor Tait is doing is taking his power to place items on the council agenda and exploiting it as a political organizing tool. Is there anything new to be said on the matter of these three projects? No, of course not. Mayor Tait will repeat, ad nauseum, the same false and misleading arguments he made on July 12. The usual parade of gadfly and allies of the mayor will troop the podium and spout the same phony claims. Tait endorsed council candidates Denise Barnes, Jose F. Moreno, Arturo Ferreras and Mark Lopez will almost certainly be there to give their rehearsed campaign talking points for the benefit of city television viewers and any media that might be present.

In other words, city resources are being harnessed to organize a giant media event for the benefit of the Tait Slate of council candidates. There’s really no other point to it.

If either Mayor Tait and Councilman James Vanderbilt invoke the free market in arguing, one hopes someone wonders out loud where that devotion to the free market was hiding when they voted to use the government to extirpate hundreds of legal, permitted small business in response to political pressure? Or – adding injury to injury — they voted to ratchet the fees those doomed business had to pay from $250 to as much as $1,095? Talk about government picking winners and losers.

11 comments

  1. OCCORD & Unite Here are like a bunch of bed bugs!

  2. Charlotte Seidnematollah

    Trading votes and favors for contributions has been going on in government for a long time, is and will continue. Proving it though is not easy. But just because it can’t be proved does not mean it didn’t happen. Whether it happened in this case obviously can’t be proven. As far as the issue on Motel giveaways I happen to agree with Mayor Tait. There should have been more discussion on this. Instead it was rushed thru. The resort machine totally deserves special treatment. We all know Anaheim gains almost half of their revenue from the resort district. But as a resident of Anaheim I would argue that 70% of the TOT tax for 20 years is way too much. I could see 50% for 5 years. There are other needs in Anaheim besides the resort district. There needs to be a balance. But then, who am I, just an unimportant resident of Anaheim which as I am learning doesn’t mean much of anything to some of the council members. Also why is it always the opinion that everything that the Mayor and his allies spout is false and misleading arguments and phony claims. There are always two sides. Just because you say it is so doesn’t always make it so. Speaking of phony claims, that rings a bell. Oh, yeah, that is what Lucille Kring said of us residents who wanted Strs banned. She is a hypocrite in the first degree. Some weeks prior to the ban of strs she was on cable tv saying she lived next to an str and she had heard the noise and seen the trash and too many cars and that they had had their fun and that it was time for them to go. Then LO and BEHOLD!!! she totally turned about face and stupidly sat in her council chair and said the opposite when voting. What Happened? I think we all know the answer to that. She accused us residents of all lying and exaggerating, that there was no problem and we were all on a witch hunt. The 10 bedroom str behind my home has altered my life into a horrible nightmare and I and many others who have had to put up with this misery thank the Mayor you seem to love to bash so much. We thank him and VBanderbilt and Brandman for doing something for the residents. The str owners had their chance and they blew it. They could not control their unsupervised businesses. They spout property rights. Well I have property rights when I own a car but it doesn’t mean I can drive down the road running all over people and destroying their lives. The free market can work when run properly. The free market does NOT have the right to ruin the lives of people and have no respect for other peoples RIGHTS. These STR businesses should never have been allowed in residential neighborhoods and we the residents were never given any consideration when they were set up. I give many thanks to the Mayor and others who voted to CORRECT a mistake when they were made aware of the harm that was being done. I shudder to think if it continued and became 5000 instead of approximately 450 actual permitted strs and approximately another 1200 unpermitted strs listed on line what our city would have become. All for the benefit of outside investors who don’t even live or vote in Anaheim. Thanks to those three council members for caring. As for Councilwoman Lucille Kring I see her free market buddies at ARA are sponsoring her running again for city council. Gee, wonder what’s going on there!!!!!!! Any Quid pro quo?????

    • Short Term Rentals will return. An all out ban is not good governance.

      • Let us not call them Short Term Rentals as that seems to denote that people live there and then rent them out some times.
        If you know who I am I can tell you with sincerity that I walked the neighborhoods from Euclid to West st and Orangewood to Ball road and talked to the residents. I found one resident with a STR permit that lived in the house. One person that is all.
        The other few hundred permit holding STRs were bought by outside companies and investors for the express purposes of turning them into hotels.
        Is allowing hotels in R1 good governance?

      • Charlotte Seidnematollah

        What is NOT good governance is opening up businesses in residential neighborhoods and leaving them unattended to run themselves.

  3. James…are you comparing the two?

  4. Did CATER and Greg Diamond help with this case?

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