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Taxpayers are the real losers in this case.

Melinda Luthin goes after the missing documents that were allegedly lost or missing during the move from the Old City Hall to the new civic center.

"Last September, I wrote about the lawsuit Kent Moore filed against the city of Newport Beach in which Moore’s attorney, Melinda Luthin, claimed city officials either ignored or stonewalled Moore’s document requests, allegedly violating the records act.

The city claimed it responded to the requests, but admitted some records were not produced because they had been either lost or misplaced during the move from the old City Hall to the new Civic Center.

The reason Moore and Luthin were requesting documents in the first place stemmed from Moore’s concern over reports about the Newport Sister City Assn.'s 2010 trip to Antibes, France. Included in those concerns were alleged acts of incompetent chaperon oversight, an incident of underage drinking and trip expenses Moore felt weren’t verified by receipts or other documentation."But Luthin sued the city over Moore’s document requests, which she said the city didn’t produce.

Then things got nasty.

Luthin alleged that when process servers tried to serve subpoenas to Newport City Manager Dave Kiff, Councilmen Keith Curry and Ed Selich they “ran like cockroaches.”

Kiff disputed those claims, telling me none of them tried to evade service.

Selich called Luthin “delusional,” and Curry said the evasion accusation was “simply a lie,” adding that Luthin was using the lawsuit “to shake down the taxpayers for personal financial gain.”

Luthin had been the original attorney of record in the Friends of the Fire Rings lawsuit, but isn’t any longer, according to City Atty. Aaron Harp.

So, on Sept. 28, all parties in this document lawsuit appeared in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.

At the time the judge continued the case, urging the city to produce whatever documents Luthin says she didn’t receive.

Fast forward to Jan 29. All parties were back in front of Presiding Judge Linda S. Marks.

Luthin argued that some of the records the city couldn’t produce were produced by the association, inferring the city had nefarious reasons for not producing the records.

The court didn’t agree with that reasoning, but did feel there “were holes or gaps in missing documents, and the city should go back and take a look at what it has in its possession,” according to court transcripts.

Harp said the city did this and Luthin should have whatever additional documents they could find." For the full article, click here. Article by Barbara Venezia


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