PLJ board member responds to president

Editor’s note: In the interest of fairness, the Light is publishing this submission in response to last week’s commentary by Deborah Marengo. The views expressed in this letter and Marengo’s are solely those of the writers and do not reflect the opinions of the La Jolla Light or its management.

By Nancy Warwick

PLJ Board Member

I was disappointed to read Deborah Marengo’s unnecessary, distorted commentary (Nov. 20, 2008) regarding the settlement of a lawsuit resulting from unlawful actions she supported as PLJ’s president. Perversely, Marengo’s commentary presents herself as a victim when she, more than anyone else, was responsible for the acts producing the lawsuit she now deplores.

As PLJ’s president, Marengo spearheaded actions to deny board seats to two duly-elected directors (Bob Collins and myself). She persisted in this unlawful action despite advance written advisements and subsequent written pleas to reverse the error. Any corrective action would have avoided a lawsuit and upheld the democratic process. Ultimately, the Superior Court determined that the actions Marengo supported were unlawful and demanded that Bob Collins and I be seated.

Yet, Marengo refused to accept this ruling, overseeing last-minute court filings seeking to stay the Superior Court’s decision. When this failed, the “hired legal guns” sought an emergency review in the California Court of Appeals to prevent “irreparable injury” which would supposedly result if either Bob Collins or I were permitted to serve on PLJ’s 15-member board.

Wisely, the court rejected these unnecessary and superfluous “scorched-earth” legal tactics. Notwithstanding, Marengo was still not through and she helped authorize the filing of another appeal, thus protracting the litigation further.

No wonder PLJ incurred legal fees when it pursued such senseless and wasteful actions supported by Marengo. These expenses were particularly deplorable because Bob Collins and I had offered to settle the entire suit long ago if PLJ simply agreed to correct the error and follow the Superior Court’s ruling. This offer was refused until a few weeks ago.

What disturbs me most is Marengo’s inability to take actions to restore the credibility of PLJ in the business community and to lead our diverse group of businesses during this time of great economic challenge. As evidenced by last week’s commentary, she remains mired in her own world of petty politics. La Jolla’s businesses deserve leadership, not wasteful antics like those Marengo deploys.