Friday, July 20, 2007

Leslie Devaney and Cheryl Cox and the taxpayers of Chula Vista

Leslie Devaney, Cheryl Cox and Laurie Madigan.

There are a lot of school board members who love developers. Board members Cheryl Cox, Patrick Judd, Pamela Smith, Bertha Lopez, and Larry Cunningham of Chula Vista Elementary School District actually named a school after developer Corky McMillan.

And they got rewarded when the time came to collect donations for their political campaigns.

Interestingly, Cheryl Cox was there again, as mayor of Chula Vista, when Mike Madigan's wife fleeced the taxpayers of Chula Vista.

Madigan's attorney, Leslie Devaney, who is, ironically, a spokesperson for Californians Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), helped Laurie Madigan collect big bucks to quit her job--after Madigan had taken a long paid sick leave because she feared she MIGHT get sick while being investigated for a conflict of interest."

The irony would be complete if we found out that Cheryl Cox is a member of CALA.

Madigan demands more money
Ex-assistant city manager wants $47,000 for legal bills
By Tanya Mannes

April 19, 2007

CHULA VISTA – Laurie Madigan, the Chula Vista assistant city manager who resigned last month while being investigated for a potential conflict of interest, has demanded $47,000 from the city to pay her legal bills.

Laurie Madigan resigned as assistant city manager March 9.
Sources familiar with the negotiations told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Madigan wants money for her legal costs in addition to the severance package she received – $155,000 in salary through the end of this year and lifetime retirement benefits.

Madigan, who had worked for the city for four years, hired her own attorneys to defend her in the investigation and later negotiate the terms of her resignation. Her severance agreement was signed March 9.

Shortly afterward, Madigan's attorneys began speaking with city officials about additional payment, citing new issues, including public statements by Councilman John McCann about the conflict-of-interest probe, the sources said.

City officials are currently in closely guarded negotiations regarding Madigan's new demands.

The City Council met in closed session Tuesday night to discuss a legal matter, but officials would not confirm whether Madigan's case was the topic. The City Attorney's Office said the council did not report taking any action in the closed session, as it is required to do by state law if a settlement is reached.

Yesterday, Mayor Cheryl Cox declined to make “any comments regarding Laurie Madigan.”

Madigan's attorney, Leslie Devaney, who has acted as her spokeswoman, did not return calls seeking comment yesterday and several times during the past week.

Madigan, who began working for the city in January 2003, was in charge of processing development plans for Chula Vista's 550-acre bayfront. Gaylord Entertainment, a Nashville, Tenn.-based firm, is negotiating with the city to build a bayfront convention center and hotel of up to 2,000 rooms.

McCann recently told the Union-Tribune that he learned in January that Madigan's husband, prominent San Diego businessman Mike Madigan, was a consultant for Lankford & Associates – a firm looking to develop in Chula Vista on a site near the one being considered by Gaylord. Company officials approached the city about building an amphitheater and parking garage on the bayfront.


Background: Chula Vista Assistant City Manager Laurie Madigan took sick leave beginning Feb. 8 but continued teaching a course at UCSD – while collecting her city salary. In exchange for resigning, she is receiving $155,000 in severance pay and lifetime retirement benefits.

What's new: Madigan's attorneys have demanded more money – $47,000 for legal bills.

The future: City officials continue negotiating with Madigan.
McCann's remarks were published on March 27.

McCann said that he brought the matter to the attention of City Attorney Ann Moore in January. The council discussed it in closed session Feb. 6 and asked interim City Manager Jim Thomson to investigate a potential conflict of interest.

Madigan, 56, went on sick leave Feb. 8. She continued to collect her full salary of $189,212 per year. Federal law makes it difficult to discipline or fire employees while they are on medical leave.

About the same time, Madigan hired three attorneys: Devaney, Priscilla Dugard and Christina Dyer. She said her doctor prescribed leave because she was stressed from the conflict-of-interest investigation and at risk for a flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis.

Madigan resigned March 9, the day the Union-Tribune reported she was teaching at the University of California San Diego while still collecting her city pay.

In 2005, Moore supervised an investigation of the Madigans after receiving complaints that Laurie Madigan gave her husband's business partners an “inside track” on city projects. That probe led the city to cancel a redevelopment deal involving the old CinemaStar site on Third Avenue.

Devaney has said that in this case, Mike Madigan worked for Lankford in San Diego but wasn't involved with the Chula Vista proposal.

When Laurie Madigan resigned, Thomson authorized a severance package that keeps her on the payroll until January 2008, at which time she will be eligible for a pension. Her pay from March 9 through Jan. 10 will total $155,000. She will be able to collect $28,400 a year for life if she retires at age 60.

McCann has publicly called for a review of the city's policy for awarding severance packages to executives.

Many residents were outraged when details of Madigan's severance agreement were released through a California Public Records Act request by the Union-Tribune. Dozens of people called and e-mailed City Hall, and wrote letters to the editor, venting about an employee who had been teaching while on sick leave – and who might have had a conflict of interest – would be awarded a severance package...

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