November 2013 Vol. 13, Issue 9
Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker 
News from the Oakland City Attorney's Office
In This Issue:
City Continues Prosecution of Banks for Antitrust Violations
City Attorney in the Community
Appeals Court Rules for Oakland in Unsafe Hillside Case
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In our monthly newsletter, we provide important information about the work of the Oakland City Attorney's Office -- plus updates on legal issues and matters that impact Oakland residents and businesses.


This month: Oakland continues prosecution of banks for antitrust violations; Appeals Court rules for Oakland in dangerous hillside case; and the City Attorney in the community.


I look forward to your comments, thoughts and questions about how we are conducting the City's business.


Very truly yours,


Barbara J. Parker

Oakland City Attorney


City Continues Prosecution of Banks for Antitrust Violations

Lawsuit charges banks and financial institutions with conspiring to overcharge cities, including Oakland 


As City Attorney one of my goals is to assure that Oakland holds banks and financial institutions accountable for violations of our federal and state antitrust laws. I am pleased to provide an update on the federal antitrust lawsuit Oakland and other cities filed against some of the nation's largest and most powerful financial firms, including AIG Financial Products, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia Bank and others. The lawsuit charges these banks and brokers with conspiring to gouge taxpayers in Oakland and other American cities by committing price fixing and bid rigging in the municipal bond market.


The lawsuit is ongoing. Oakland recently secured a $200,000 settlement from Wachovia, and the City is continuing its lawsuit against the financial companies and brokers who brazenly agreed among themselves to present cities artificially low bids for Guaranteed Investment Contracts, which cities use to earn interest on municipal bond funds. By conspiring to avoid competitive bidding, the financial companies gave Oakland and other cities abnormally low interest rates, thereby cheating residents and taxpayers out of a legitimate rate of return on their money.


This collusion among competitors is a clear and flagrant violation of federal and state antitrust laws, which prohibit any agreement by companies to fix prices, rig bids or allocate specific customers.


We will keep you posted on future developments in the case. 


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City Attorney in the Community
Events & Developments 


Black Women Organized for Political Action presents Ella Hill Hutch Statewide Award


It was a great honor to receive the 2013 Ella Hill Hutch State Award from Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA).


BWOPA is a statewide nonprofit organization that was founded in 1968 with the goals of educating, training and empowering African American women in the political process and to shape public policy. BWOPA presents the Ella Hill Hutch award each year to "recognize the talents of Black women who have demonstrated extraordinary work in support of justice and equality."


I was especially touched to receive this award which bears the name of Ella Hill Hutch, and to be associated with this trailblazer and pioneer who was one of the BWOPA's 12 founding members and the first African American woman elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.


In this photo: BWOPA State President Dezie Woods-Jones, City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Pastor Raymond Lankford, CEO of Healthy Communities Inc. Photo by Joshua Jackson.


The November 2nd awards ceremony was held in the lovely setting of Holy Names University. It was packed with family, friends, supporters from my Office and many, many community members, leaders and elected officials; the food was delicious and the program was memorable. State president Dezie Woods-Jones who served as the mistress of ceremonies was dazzling, eloquent, funny and profound.


BWOPA has paved the way for me and so many other African American women to participate in the political process and shape public policy. I am deeply grateful for this recognition and for the leadership, vision and support BWOPA has provided for nearly half a century.  


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Legal Briefs
Updates on important legal matters
Appeals Court Rules for Oakland in Dangerous Hillside Case

On November 1, the state Court of Appeal ruled in the City's favor in a case involving a company that failed to repair an unstable hillside on its property.


The City declared the property on MacArthur Boulevard a public nuisance in 2006 due to a partially excavated hillside that posed a danger to workers, visitors and neighboring buildings. A new owner, GCP Management, LLC, took over the property but failed to comply with an agreement with the City to fix the hillside. A winter storm in 2010 further deteriorated the stability of the hillside, and the City notified the owner that the property remained "a longstanding blight and continuing hazard for the neighborhood."


By April the condition of the hillside had become an imminent hazard. The owner still did not make repairs. GCP Management became the property owner in 2010 through foreclosure but refused to make necessary repairs. The company then attempted to get a restraining order to prevent the City from doing the work. The restraining order application was denied, and the City subsequently completed abatement work on the property, stabilizing the hillside. 


GCP Management then sued the City alleging inverse condemnation, nuisance and trespass. The Court dismissed all of the company's claims, and at the conclusion of the bench trial, awarded $310,315 in damages to the City for the cost of stabilizing the hillside. 


The First District Court of Appeal denied GCP Management's appeal and upheld the award of damages to the City. This is an excellent decision for both the neighbors of the property and the taxpayers of Oakland, and I want to thank Deputy City Attorneys Charles Vose and Jennifer Logue for their outstanding work on this case.