Client Successes Jun 10, 2014

BB&K Attorneys Win $57 Million in Transportation Fee Dispute on Behalf of WRCOG

Judge Finds City of Beaumont Wrongly Used Fees to Build Its Own Roads

Best Best & Krieger attorneys Jeffrey V. Dunn and Thomas J. Eastmond won a $43 million trial award on behalf of the Western Riverside Council of Governments in a transportation fee dispute with the City of Beaumont.

An Orange County Superior Court judge found that Beaumont failed to comply with its municipal ordinance requiring Beaumont to collect and remit transportation impact fees to WRCOG. The impact fees are part of the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) Program administered by WRCOG. Under the TUMF Program impact fees collected from new development in western Riverside County are remitted to WRCOG and allocated to build new transportation infrastructure to mitigate the impact of development on the regional transportation system.    
During the four-week trial, BB&K provided evidence that Beaumont failed to comply with its TUMF obligations and, instead, created both tax and traffic burdens on Beaumont’s own residents. The court found that“ the evidence shows poor local transportation planning and execution.” The court went on to conclude that “[t]he evidence and testimony reveals that city management and staff engaged in a pattern and practice of deception that transcends the typical give-and-take of dispute negotiation. Had this been a typical civil trial I would have found fraud by clear and convincing evidence as against the city.” (*In May 2016, seven former top city officials were charged for misappropriating the funds.)

In addition to the $43 million, WRCOG will be awarded pre-judgment interest of at least $20 million. BB&K attorney Steven DeBaun, who is general counsel to WRCOG, also assisted with the case.

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