Appellate Court delays hearing on state buildings sale until after Schwarzenegger leaves office

Unless state Supreme Court overturns ruling, incoming Gov. Brown will make decision

A California appeals court in San Jose Monday set a Jan. 26 hearing on the disputed $2.3 billion sale of 11 state buildings and blocked the sale of the buildings for the time being.

A three-judge panel said a temporary stay to block the sale of the buildings that it issued on Dec. 13 "shall remain in effect until further order of this court."

If the stay is continued through next week -- and is not overturned by the California Supreme Court -- it would take the sale out of the hands of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration and place it into the hands of incoming Gov. Jerry Brown, who takes office Jan. 3.

But Schwarzenegger filed an emergency appeal with the California Supreme Court last week, asking it to lift the stay before the end of the year.

In the current schedule, the panel will hear arguments on Jan. 26 on a lawsuit that includes three former state building officials claiming the sale of the buildings to a group of private investors is an unconstitutional gift and waste of public funds.

The deal would provide $1.2 billion in revenue after $1.1 billion in building bonds and sale expenses is paid off. The plaintiffs claim renting back the office space would cost the state millions and possibly billions in the long run.

The case was assigned to seven temporary justices, taken from state appeals courts.

Joseph Cotchett, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, noted there are only three more court days before Schwarzenegger leaves office.

"He's got one more shot at it," Cotchettt said, referring to Schwarzenegger's emergency appeal to the state high court.

The 11 building complexes are in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Rosa, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Bay City News contributed to this story.

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Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

How elementary can the decision to sell the 11 state buildings be. Once sold the state no longer has control of what the new owners might charge in rental fees, which could be, and probably will be, much higher than if the state were to retain these buildings. This is only a ONE TIME fix and once done, it's done. This seems to be the way the Schwarzenegger administration does business- ONE TIME, bandage fix. No only can the rent be raised, but has anyone thought about certain employees who work in those building will be laid off. Janitors, engineers, painters, etc. all work for Department of General Services. With the state no longer owning the buildings, the new owners now hire their own employees. As a consequence we now have over 500 janitors without jobs and the majority will be on unemployment since they all can't be absorbed back into state service. Haste la vista, Arnold!!!

Like this comment
Posted by PolitizationOfCourt
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Dec 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Once again the court is politicized. Californian's respect for the law diminishes a little further. Democrat politicians are free to continue to use the courts to subvert the constitutional legal powers of those they disagree with. Well Liberals, you wanted to have total control of everything in this state. You now have it. Tax and regulate all those jobs away. The only good news is that the "undocumented" (i.e., illegal, breaking the law) aliens will soon have less reason to come to California. They can still come here for all the free stuff that the remaining taxpayers love to give them, but there will be fewer jobs for them.

Like this comment
Posted by buildings for sale
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 4, 2011 at 9:50 am
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