Hi John. Hope all is well with you. We wanted to give you an update. We were scheduled to start trial on September 28; however, the courtroom is dark that day. Our trial has been rescheduled to start October 19th.
Unfortunately, our attorney passed away 2 weeks ago. He was a wonderful man with incredible integrity, who wanted to right a wrong from the City's lies. He was able to save our house from the wrecking ball so that we have the evidence in court that our property is not a "public nuisance", that there are no code violations, and that we have valid permits. We will be forever grateful to him.
The City's attorneys expected that we would have no choice but to represent ourselves again in pro per. Fortunately, we have an attorney who is willing to help us continue our fight and has substituted in. We did ask the court for a 90 day extension, so that the attorney could be brought up to speed. The 5 year statute is up December 1st and the City would not stipulate to an extension. Therefore, we must be prepared for trial on October 19th. I am 99.9% sure that the date will not be changed again.
On another note, we are hoping for a little help in finding information pertaining to how much money the City has paid in legal fees regarding our case. We feel that you will have better luck, as the City has continuously ignored our requests. It is our understanding that it is against the law for the City's attorneys of record to represent the City on a contingency basis. We believe that is why they are not providing a response to the multiple requests for Public Records that we have submitted.
The following is what we have requested and the City has chosen to ignore. Obviously we are currently involved in trial prep and will not have time to pursue the matter until after the trial. We think the City is violating the law or they would have provided all of the information we requested. We think the City stopped paying the Dapeer law firm in 2013.
The following is the timeframe regarding our Public Records Acts requests:
February 17, 2015: We submitted a request for Public Records asking for copies of all invoices from Dapeer law firm regarding the property and/or Hildreths from June 1, 2009 thru January 31, 2015.
February 27, 2015: we received a letter from the City stating that "Most files specific to our request were located offsite. We will respond to your request on March 23, 2015."
March 27, 2015: I paid for and picked up copies of the Dapeer invoices; however, the invoices provided were only thru April 2013.
April 7, 2015: We requested confirmation as to whether the invoices given were complete or incomplete. We stated that no invoices were provided dated after April 30, 2013.
May 12, 2015: We sent a re-request for all invoices whether paid or unpaid from the Dapeer law firm for services provided between April 1, 2013 and April 30, 2015.
July 2, 2015: We e-mailed a letter to the City stating that a response had not been received.
July 13, 2015: The City sent a letter stating that all Requests for Public Records had been responded to. (This is not true. They have ignored the requests and re-request for information pertaining to Dapeer law firm and payments made between April 1, 2013-April 30, 2015).
Between July 13 and August 13: The City sent an email stating that the City no longer had to provide a response to our Request for Public Records regarding invoices, stating attorney/client priviledge.
August 13, 2015: We refined our request asking for the following:
1. Any form of compensation whether check, warrant, I.O.U. or other, made by the City of Sierra Madre to Dapeer, Rosenblit, Litvak LLP or any of its employees or affiliated entities, between January 1, 2013 and July 31, 2015 for services related directly or indirectly to 187 East Montecito Ave., Jeff Hildreth, or Taryn Hildreth.
2. Accounts payable reports by month for vendor to Dapeer, Rosenblit, Litvak LLP and any affiliated entities or employees, for calendar years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, for a total of six individual reports with reports for 2010-2014 containing data by month for Jan-Dec of the specific year and 2015 containing Data by month for Jan-July.
To date, we have still have had no response.
John, you have moxie, so thank you,
Jeff and Taryn Hildreth