PLJ president comments on settlement

Deborah Marengo

President, Promote La Jolla

I was pleased that we could move forward on the settlement that the Promote La Jolla Board of Directors had offered to Bob Collins and Nancy Warwick several months ago, which allows the organization to move on without additional attorney costs.

Bob Collins and Nancy Warwick sued Promote La Jolla in December 2007 over two items, to be seated as directors and the allegation under the Public Records Act that documents from the organization’s office were withheld when requested.

When the judge ruled on giving them their seats, what many of our members did not realize is that Bob and Nancy’s action about our documents was still ongoing litigation.

The Board of Directors asked Bob and Nancy to drop the case, and there was no response, therefore the Board had no recourse but to keep responding to the case.

We were troubled over the media coverage painting the board as the “bad guy” because ultimately, the documents that Nancy and Bob were asking for do not exist. We told them that and they still continued to sue us over it. This whole case became a bigger issue than it needed to be because of their pursuits. Our greater concern as a board is the repercussions this action had on our budget planning because we have such little funding each year ($187,000) every dollar counts. In the end, this action has cost the organization over $8,000 in FY 09 this year because of pro-active steps that we had to take and increased insurance premiums.

Following the Brown Act and the Public Records Act is a matter the board of directors takes very seriously, and the board has engaged legal counsel as a result of this action. To our members, this cost amounts to eight months of trash pick up and street cleaning that can’t happen, because the funds are being used elsewhere. As a member that pays into this fund that doesn’t make me happy. I wish we didn’t have to do it, but they forced our hand.

I’m looking forward to moving head in 2009 with our strategic planning retreat and our new board members joining us as we continue to do good work in the community for our member merchants.