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Friday, May 25, 2007 | I would like to correct the record about the status of the city’s court action to protect current and future taxpayers from paying for illegal benefits created in 1996 and 2002 by city officials. The “appeal” was not lost because it had not yet been taken.

At the trial level, the court determined that even if the acts of these officials were unlawful, taxpayers must still pay for the pension benefits because of later settlement agreements authorized by many of the same wrongdoers. In other words, the wrong doers were able to waive their own wrong doing. City Attorney Mike Aguirre believes this decision is not what the law calls for under the facts.

Because some of the case is still pending in the trial court, the city was not able to “appeal” the trial court’s ruling but instead used a “writ” procedure to ask the appellate court for permission to challenge the rulings that were made following Phase 1 of the trial only. The city still retains its right to appeal following the conclusion of all phases of the trial in superior court.

It is important to note that the city attorney has recovered over $6 million in cases filed against some of the professional firms who had a duty to know but did not advise the city of the deleterious pension arrangements that were entered into.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide the public with the correct information.

Kathryn Burton works with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office

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