InlandPolitics.com has learned that the outside law firm hired by county supervisors to handle litigation against former Assessor Bill Postmus and five others has already exceeded its budget with little or nothing to show for it.
Attorneys John Hueston and Leeran Factor from the law firm of Irell and Manella were given an appropriation limit of $500,000 by county supervisors last spring. A number already well above any potential recovery in the litigation.
County sources now say expenses have inexplicably escalated and the amount is now approaching $700,000. However, county supervisors have given no additional spending authority above the original amount.
County supervisors are described as being distressed over the situation.
What the supervisors don’t know is the litigation tab was at roughly $450,000 through the November billing. A little simple math would indicate that a quarter million dollars was burned through in just two months.
An examination of the online court docket for the case shows only a handful of procedural motions and court appearances having occurred. Insiders indicate that only document production requests have been generated and not one deposition has occurred. All but one of the defendant’s is fighting the action. The county has filed a notice of default as to Former Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, who has not produced any defense.
The litigation, now likely to cost taxpayers millions, has turned into a “boondoggle” for county supervisors.
What started out as a big public relations splash last spring has now turned into a nightmare for a county dealing with budget and workforce reductions. San Bernardino County now faces a projected deficit of more than $90 million and climbing..
It’s time for county supervisors to take control of the county’s legal operation known for its uncontrolled and mismanaged spending.
County Counsel Ruth Stringer is ultimately responsible.