Press

Pasadena Weekly: Far from home – Caltrans delays selling 710 Corridor properties 10/17/13

“If we want something done, we have to do it ourselves,” said Pasadena property rights attorney Christopher Sutton. “The first step is [Caltrans Director] Malcolm Dougherty must issue an affirmative written decision to the director of District 7 listing each individual property by address and Caltrans ID number that he finds to be ‘surplus.’ We believe these hearings are just a distraction. So we’re going to come up with a comprehensive list ourselves and petition Dougherty directly to declare them surplus, and then go to the three city councils [Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles] requesting that they also push for that. We’re going to take on the job that staff should be doing themselves.”

Read the full article here Pasadena Weekly: Far from home – Caltrans delays selling 710 Corridor properties, October 17, 2013

Pasadena Star-News: Builders reach agreement with South Pasadena over ‘unfair’ regulations 04/24/2012

“But How’s attorney Christopher Sutton said he thinks the city should tell a builder all the requirements before they create plans.’Procedurally you have to tell people up front what the rules are,’ he said. ‘That’s the problem here is that they are ambushing applicants. They’re making stuff up as they go along.'”

Read the full article here Pasadena Star-News: Builders reach agreement with South Pasadena over ‘unfair’ regulations, April 24, 2012

Santa Cruz Sentinel: Are oversight boards rife with conflicts? Some say yes 4/21/2012

Pasadena attorney Christopher Sutton said he does not believe local elected officials can sit on boards overseeing redevelopment when they also serve the entities that typically assumed control redevelopment agency assets after being dissolved earlier this year. However, the state dictated that the boards be populated with city and county appointees.

Read the full article here Santa Cruz Sentinel: Are oversight boards rife with conflicts? Some say yes April 21, 2012

Los Angeles Times: Gold Line backers reach accord with Monrovia landowner 2/15/2012

“Christopher Sutton, one of Brokate’s attorneys, said the authority had suffered several legal setbacks, including a court order for a new environmental analysis of alternative maintenance facility sites.

The Gold Line agency also faced a Feb. 22 trial date in another case involving Brokate’s allegations that a $486-million construction contract for the Foothill extension was awarded without competitive bids. Rail officials deny any impropriety, saying the selection process resulted in three companies as finalists.

“My client got exactly what he wanted or else he would have wanted a full trial,” Sutton said. “It was not about the money. He wanted to draw attention to what he thought was misconduct by the Gold Line.”

Read the full article here Los Angeles Times: Gold Line backers reach accord with Monrovia landowner 2/15/2012

Los Angeles Times: Gold Line pays $24-million settlement for Monrovia property 02/14/2012

“Christopher Sutton, one of Brokate’s attorneys, said, however, that the authority had suffered several setbacks in court, such as a court order to perform a new environmental analysis that included studies of alternative sites for the maintenance facility.

Sutton also noted that the Gold Line faced a Feb. 22 trial date in another case in which a judge refused to dismiss Brokate’s allegations that a $486-million construction contract to build the Foothill extension was awarded without competitive bids. Rail officials have denied any impropriety.

The $24 million “has been our asking price from the beginning,” Sutton said. “My client got exactly what he wanted or else he would have wanted a full trial.”

The settlement dismisses four lawsuits brought by Brokate and two eminent domain actions filed by the construction authority to acquire his land.”

Read the full article here Los Angeles Times: Gold Line pays $24-million settlement for Monrovia property 02/14/2012

Pasadena Star News: Gold Line officials reach multimillion dollar settlement with Monrovia property owner 2/10/2012

“The Construction Authority agreed Thursday to pay George Brokate of Excalibur Holdings his asking price for the 4.5 acres on the southwest corner of Evergreen and Shamrock avenues, said Christopher Sutton, one of Brokate’s attorneys.”

Read the full article here Pasadena Star News: Gold Line officials reach multimillion dollar settlement with Monrovia property owner 2/10/2012

Pasadena Star News: BREAKING: Gold Line officials reach multimillion dollar settlement with Monrovia property owner 2/10/2012

“MONROVIA – Gold Line Construction Authority officials have agreed to pay a commercial property owner $24 million for his land for a maintenance and operations yard required for the light rail extension to move forward, his attorneys said.

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority agreed Thursday to pay property owner George Brokate of Excalibur Holdings and his wife Diana $24 million for Brokate’s 4.5 acres of commercial property on the southwest corner of Evergreen and Shamrock, said Christopher Sutton, one of Brokate’s attorneys.

The agreement will also settle four pending lawsuits Brokate filed against the Construction Authority and various other entities and two lawsuits filed by the Construction Authority against Brokate, Sutton said.

“George was the rock of Gibraltar in this thing,” Sutton said. “He was unwavering … It wasn’t about him getting money. It was drawing attention to what he thought was misconduct by the Gold Line.”

Read the full article here Pasadena Star News: Breaking: Gold Line officials reach multimillion dollar settlement with Monrovia property owner 2/10/2012

California Lawyer: Circling the Drain 01/2012

“This is a nightmare of CRA’s own making,” says Christopher Sutton, a Pasadena attorney who filed an amicus brief in Matosantos on behalf of MORR and Assemblyman Chris Norby (R-Fullerton). “Prop. 22 took the redevelopment agencies out of the shadows and made them vulnerable. They were fat pigs when everyone else was starving.”

Read the full article here California Lawyer, Circling the Drain, January, 2012

Pasadena Star News: Redevelopment denied 12/29/2011

“…If they want to use taxes to pay billionaires, why don’t they take it to a vote of the people,” said Christopher Sutton, a Pasadena attorney and longtime critic.

On the possibility that he’ll no longer be able to sue to stop redevelopment projects, Sutton said, “Every time cities do something stupid, I get a client.”

Read the full article here Pasadena Star News: Redevelopment denied 12/29/2011

Pasadena Star News: Judge: Gold Line construction authority violated environmental laws 12/29/2011

“Attorney Christopher Sutton, who is representing Brokate in that case, said that the judge’s comments indicate that she will likely stop the Gold Line from building the project on schedule.

Several other lawsuits filed by Brokate earlier this year against the construction authority, the city of Monrovia and its redevelopment agency and counter-lawsuits are still pending.”

Read the full article here Pasadena Star News: Judge: Gold Line construction authority violated environmental laws 12/29/2011

New York Times: In California, a Proposed Cut Angers Local Officials 01/29/2011

“Governor Brown wants to shut down community redevelopment agencies and spend their money on schools, police and firefighters. The CRA of Los Angeles plans to thwart that plan by turning over $930 million to the City Council, which would then build CRA projects.”

Read the full article here New York Times, In California, a Proposed Cut Angers Local Officials, January 29, 2011

Which Way L.A.: State and Cities in Tug of War over Redevelopment Rights 01/26/2011

“The problem is, once an area is declared blighted, that distinction never goes away,” said Christopher Sutton, a lawyer who is involved in a lawsuit against San Diego over their redevelopment money. “Why should we have this pool of money cordoned off? It can’t be touched at all for other government services. If we’re in such a terrible budget situation, why should this be exempt?”

Listen now Which Way L.A., State and Cities in Tug of War over Redevelopment Rights, January 26, 2011

Pasadena Star-News: Redevelopment could be threatened by Gov. Brown’s budget 01/09/2011

“Christopher Sutton, a Pasadena lawyer who has represented opponents of redevelopment projects, argues that what may have started as a good urban improvement idea has morphed into a growing monster.
Many redevelopment areas no longer fit any reasonable definition of blighted, Sutton said, citing examples like downtown Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, whose slums have been replaced by gleaming high-rises and a new Walt Disney Concert Hall. Sutton said many people, presumably including Brown, have come to realize money set aside to support development comes out of classrooms.
“What do you value more,” Sutton asked, “public education or subsidizing sports teams and developers?””

Pasadena Star-News: Industry family ties are long tradition 11/19/2009

“”You shouldn’t have city managers hiring their relatives,” said Pasadena-based property rights attorney Christopher A. Sutton, a critic of Industry and its redevelopment agency, “or city councilmen with family in the city government.” Industry officials said they follow state conflict-of-interest laws. However, ethics experts said that the hirings may still give the appearance of a conflict. ”

Read the full article here Pasadena Star-News: Industry family ties are long tradition, November 19, 2009

Pasadena Sun: Fighting against a rigged game 01/07/2012

“Silverstein and co-counsel Christopher Sutton, another highly successful public interest lawyer from Pasadena, filed lawsuits over the role of the Monrovia Community Redevelopment Agency in the process, since it faced dissolution under state law, and over how the design-build contract was awarded — actions that did not sit well with then-Monrovia-City-Manager Scott Ochoa, who took over from Jim Starbird as Glendale city manager last week.”

Read the full article here Pasadena Star-News: Industry family ties are long tradition, November 19, 2009