BREAKING: CATER Loses Lawsuit Against Convention Center Expansion

It’s a bad day for the gadflies at CATER: today the City on Anaheim prevailed in court over the CATER lawsuit against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion.

Thanks to Cynthia Ward and her house legal genius Greg Diamond, CATER did succeed in torpedoing the initial expansion financing package and costing Anaheim taxpayers at least $35 million in increased project costs and lost community benefits like additional fire stations. How is that for “economic responsibility”?

UPDATE: here’s the press release from the city:

ORANGE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT RULES IN ANAHEIM’S FAVOR
Approves City of Anaheim’s bond financing for the Anaheim Convention Center

ANAHEIM, Calif. (September 26, 2014) Today, the Orange County Superior Court gave a resounding victory to the City of Anaheim by validating the City’s approved financing of the much-needed expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. The Court concluded that the Anaheim Public Financing Authority properly acted in approving issuance of up to $300 Million in bonds for this project, which benefits the City, the region and the community.

On May 12, 2014, local organization CATER (Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility) submitted its lawsuit in opposition to the City’s financing mechanism for the Convention Center expansion project. The lawsuit caused the cancellation of the bond sale, delayed the project, and caused the City to be liable for increased construction fees as well as legal expenses. The City now intends to proceed with the financing.

“I am thankful that the Court recognized the need to expeditiously review this matter and confirmed what the City and most people knew all along: That this case, brought by outside special interests and a handful of community members, was entirely frivolous and of great harm to the City’s economic prosperity. This meritless action by CATER and the Inland Oversight Committee unfortunately has cost the City tens of millions of dollars in increased construction and financing costs,” said City Attorney Michael R.W. Houston.

The bond approval is intended to support the Anaheim Convention Center expansion, refund debt at a lower interest rate and finance other community improvements.

Since opening in 1967, revenues generated by the Anaheim Convention Center and related activities have consistently supported overall City services, thereby improving the quality of life for Anaheim’s residents.

The proposed Anaheim Convention Center expansion project encompasses the addition of 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting space for hosting concurrent events, capturing new meeting groups and retaining the large annual events, plus the replacement of Car Park 1. The current Anaheim Convention Center has limited meeting space opportunities and limits the ability to accommodate concurrent events.

It is conservatively estimated that the City’s General Fund would be better off by $115 million over the next decade and $320 million over a 30-year period by expanding, as determined by an outside consultant (Crossroads Consulting Services).

Each year the City generates millions of dollars due to the large annual events booked at the Anaheim Convention Center. Attendance over the past five years averages nearly 1.1 million guests at Convention Center events alone. This translates to hotel room stays, dining, shopping and entertainment for those guests, many of whom use the opportunity to plan a family vacation or extend their stay to enjoy Anaheim and Orange County’s many amenities.

In 2010, the City Council, by Resolution, established the Anaheim Tourism Improvement District (ATID) for the promotion of local tourism and convention-related programs. Hoteliers in the Anaheim Resort agreed to self-assess 2% of hotel room rent within the ATID boundaries for projects in the Anaheim Resort. The creation of the ATID relieved the City’s General Fund of $6 million annually, beginning in 2010, and freed-up these dollars to pay for this Anaheim Convention Center expansion project. Assuming TOT revenues would grow at a conservative estimate of 3%, it is estimated that the value of the ATID would be approximately $450 million, and is greater than estimated lease payments on the bond issuance.

To ensure that the incremental new revenues would be available for General Fund programs, the City Council approved a financing plan that keeps the General Fund’s annual lease payment obligations for capital improvements where they are today.

For more on the Anaheim Convention Center expansion and to read the Staff Report, please click here, and forward to item 27.

35 comments

  1. Doesn’t come close to the $200+ million for Pringle’s ARTIC high-speed train station or $320 million for a streetcar between it and Disneyland.

  2. $35m? That’s quite the claim, Matt.

    Show your work, please.

  3. …and these are the closest political allies of Mayor Tom Tait

  4. Bad bad week for tait. He deserves it

  5. Judge ruled Ryan. Your side got spanked

    • My side?

      I don’t know why you get your jollys by making others feel small. I hope you find a healthier way to get some pleasure out of life.

      ANYWAY. I think getting a little background on that $35m benefits everyone, Dan included. Little help, Matteo?

      • Allow me, Ryan. Time is money. Construction delays increase construction costs. All the companies and their subs on this job have to be kept in place so they’re available when construction starts. That costs money, because they have to be paid. We could probably quibble about how many millions that is, but you know perfectly well the CATER/Cory Briggs lawsuit has increased the costs of the expansion.

        Plus, there was also funding for additional community benefits, such two (I believe) additional fire stations, in the original financing package that CATER and Cory Briggs torpedoed with their lawsuit.

        That’s what your pals cost the city with their lawsuit, Ryan.

        But you know already know this, Ryan. You’re an annoying attack dog to Team Tait, but you aren’t stupid.

        • I find it incredibly hard to believe that (what’s materially) a minor delay equates to $35m increase in construction costs.

          I find it equally absurd that the city would sign a contract that placed 100% of the risk associated with financing the project on the back of the taxpayer, particularly when the primary investor hadn’t approved the final deal. I mean come on, that’d just be criminally reckless. No way that really happened.

          So, what’s the real basis for the $35 m. Anyone?

          • Of course you find it hard to believe, Ryan. What else should we expect? Admit that your buddies filed a ridiculous lawsuit and the only thing they accomplished was to cost the taxpayers they claim to represent more money? You’d have to have some intellectual integrity to do that. You’ll never give an inch. You’ll bob, weave and change the subject. That’s what you do. That’s your assigned role as a Team Taitbot campaign volunteer.

  6. $35mm is about 11.666M per member of CATER, one of whom doesn’t even live in Anaheim. I wish the city could counter sue to recover costs. I doubt there would be much to attach to from a bankrupt Brea lawyer.

  7. JAJAJA it’s all good … this was intended to go up to appelate….

    • “It was all part of the plan.” Did it take you 24 hours to think of that flimsy spin, Vern? Face it. Cory Briggs got beat. I don’t give Greg Diamond credit for losing cuz he’s a bumbler whose role was to prepare “me-too” filings in Brigg’s trail.

    • From a lawyers I spoke with today, “that’s what people say when they lose.”

  8. Do you really think, as Diamond said, this case is going all the way to the Supreme Court. Funniest thing I have ever read.

  9. Ryan Cantor endorsed Tom Tait for Mayor, Cynthia Ward is a permanent fixture of the Tait entourage when they step our for political events and can regularly be seen at their campaign headquarters, Greg Diamond is an amateur photographer for Tait at city events, Vern Nelson threw Galloway overboard to support Tait, Acevedo and Rojas are all smiles and proudly featured on his FB page in pictures taken at the Tait campaign launch for Mayor. What’s missing are the people of Anaheim – community leaders, city organizations, past elected officials, the folks who actually contribute and comprise our city. Like his precious Measure L – all of his support financial and otherwise is coming from outside our borders or from political opportunists. Fortunately, the people of Anaheim are catching on. His supporters file suit every time he votes no at great expense to our city. It’s time for Tait and this band of crazy people to move on.

    • Oh, I “threw” poor Lorri overboard? When did that happen? I’ve never even publicly said I support one over the other, although your guess is good. Throw her overboard. You piss me off. I tried hard to get her to wait till 2018, and then I did her the absurd favor of trying to talk Tom into running for council instead. I AM disappointed that she says NOTHING about all the burning issues going on in Anaheim this past year, apparently trying to safely avoid controversy. Where’s the “throwing overboard” though? You buncha sad clowns.

    • Oh man, that’s rich, but thanks for the plug.

      By the by, it would appear the only folks here supporting the kleptocrats are those without names.

      But hey, pick your camp. Those political groups running through history with hoods and masks tend not to do so well.

      • Ryan, how much did you contribute to Vanderbilt’s campaigns? Wonder if he has any skeleton’s in the closet Tait didn’t check out.

        • What is with your obsession with how I spend my money?

          Happy spelunking, Dan-o. If there’s any dirt to be found, I’m sure you’ll find it.

          And seriously? No one has anything on that $35m? We just throw that kind of money around now?

  10. Ward is Tom Tait’s herald/bodyguard and lady-in-waiting to Julie Tait. She’s the Tanya Harding of Team Tait.

    But she says she’s not a “Tait minion.”

    • WOW. That sounds like it would rival telenovellas for a crazy plot twist. Do you write them as a sideline, or just watch them all day?

  11. Ryan- is your employer OK with you blogging during the work day?

    • Stop deleting my comments, Matt! If you want to host a forum for anonymous cowards, the least you can do is tolerate a response to their indecency in kind. Otherwise, it’s on you.

      I don’t blog on the clock, Stand. Go terrorize someone else.

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