The Status of the “Amerige Court” Monstrosity; On Life Support – Pull The Plug!


Don’t hold your breath waiting for the good folks at City Hall to provide a public update on the drawn-out Amerige Court saga. They would just as soon you don’t know while they work out a deal behind the scenes.

Well, if they won’t we will. To that end we sent out our crack team of investigative reporters and found out a few things.

As many of the friends doubtless know, the original partnership – Pelican/Laing – that was getting all of the Redevelopment gravy: free land, super-high density, etc. etc., is no more. John Laing Homes went into receivership. But we have been informed by our sources that before they declared under Chapter 11 they managed to offload their interest in the Amerige Court project to their erstwhile partners, Pelican. We suspect that they sold out for pennies on the dollar to salvage something before a bankruptcy court judge could lock things up.

The possibility of a kickback to former Laing employees is hard to ignore, and we hope that this thought will occur to the bankruptcy judge, too. The City granted entitlements were and are, worth millions to somebody who can actually seal the deal.

The Redevelopment Agency staff is aware of all this, and rather than start over will no doubt push hard for the Agency to accept this new arrangement, if they haven’t already. It’s hard to see the Pelican boys getting financing to build a birdhouse these days, but many options are open including selling off the whole mess to somebody else. They may also try to repackage the deal in a “softer” format to makes sure they can get the green light.

So the time is ripe to call City Council members who voted for this huge subsidized eyesore. Keller, Quirk-Silva, and Shawn Nelson have an opportunity to correct their previous mistake and do the right thing by the people of Fullerton. Bankhead and Jones are, of course, far beyond hope, but you can try them, too, if you care to.

9 Replies to “The Status of the “Amerige Court” Monstrosity; On Life Support – Pull The Plug!”

  1. I’m holding out some hope that the Council will realize what a political catastrophe Amerige Court would be. Secret deals like the 10-15% profit guaranteed to the developers (by taxpayers!) are not soon forgotten by their constituency who were DENIED INPUT from inception and throughout this backroom lovefest with Pelican-Lang. This is the Council’s chance to make amends for the havoc they’ve already wrought in downtown and the public trust they have betrayed in making secret deals with public land.

    Does Dick Jones’ creation-of-a-monster-downtown apology include this Amerige Court fiasco as well? It should.

  2. Amerige Court was born in a closed session –two years before the public got wind of it– with a “rendering” paid for by Paul Dudley, then Director of Development (the former acting director of the Development Department told the planning commission years later). Jan Flory said “We liked it.” When asked, “What about the Brown Act?” she replied, “It was about property, so it didn’t count.”
    Amerige Court went public, sort of, in July 2003, at a council meeting at the city yard on Basque–no television.

    Your crack team overlooked the $5.5 million Pelican is to be paid for building the parking structure, in addition to the probable profit payment.

    You overlooked the Keyser Marston Associates advisory memo January 6, 2006, advising the city council they had better do more due diligence before getting into this scheme. Well, so did the city council members. In their packets, but betcha they didn’t read it.

    Paul Dudley also brought us downtown “restaurants” with no conditional use permits, December 2002, according to the city manager at the first alcohol ordinance meeting at the city yard in 2008. “He meant it only for parking,” Meyers said. But the ordinance clearly said, “no parking or conditional use permits” would be required of restaurants. Didn’t the city attorney read the ordinance before it was adopted? The city council obviously didn’t. And so party town was established.

    Seems obvious Amerige Court was intended to provide parking for the oligarchs of alcohol who run downtown. They don’t need it any more; they got the OCTA to fund giant parking by their main places on Santa Fe Avenue far from the train station.

  3. Observer you bring up sopme interesting facts about the Amerige Court project, but you missed the point of the post – which was to say what’s happening right now, not what happened along the weary Trail of Tears.

    Why don’t you write a history of the project for the Fullerton Observer? Oh, that’s right. Quirk and Keller both went for it so Sharon Kennedy would never print it.

    So why don’t you write it up and send it to our admin. He’d be happy to post it.

    BTW, I agree with you about the incompetent Dudley. He was a true disaster for Fullerton.

    1. Why don’t you write a history of the project for the Fullerton Observer? Oh, that’s right. Quirk and Keller both went for it so Sharon Kennedy would never print it.

      She already has…repeatedly.

      See page 4 of the
      mid-June, 2007 issue of The Fullerton Observer – “12 Myths of Amerige Court & the Reality of Each,” as well as additional coverage in that same issue from Jane Reiffer with Friends for a Livable Fullerton. Also in that issue are Redevelopment Mtg. notes detailing the 10% profit guarantee for the developer.

      There is also substantial coverage in
      April, 2008, detailing again those 2001 secretive inception of the project.

      Those are just the first archived issues to come up quickly on a search, but I’m sure that the bulk of my knowledge concerning these shady Amerige Court dealings has come from The Observer’s repeated coverage of it.

      Given the secrecy that has surrounded the project I’m thankful for any news ANYONE ferrets out about it.

    2. It’s also interesting to read in that same 2007 edition linked above the inclusion of a disgruntled letter from Paul Dudley concerning The Observer’s ongoing coverage of his conflict-of-interest issues.

  4. Thanks EOE. So why doesn’t the Observer call out Quirk and Keller on it?

    Dudley was an incompetent tool. The fact that he managed to keep his job year after incompetent year is a tribute to the stupidity of the City Council (with help fromm the conveniently silent Observer). Bankhead and Jones loved Dudley. So did (does) Jan Flory.

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