Jim Righeimer Ordered to Pay Huge Legal Bill

moxley-confidential-jim-righeimer-costa-mesa.6074458.40.jpg
Jim Righeimer
At the same time Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer poured more than $42,000 in personal funds into his 2010 political campaign to successfully fight police union attacks, the Republican real estate developer stiffed his own corporate lawyer out of nearly $195,000 in fees.

That revelation is according to a court record officially filed on Feb. 3, but inexplicably held secret until today by Orange County court officials.

Retired Judge Terry Friedman of Santa Monica played arbiter in the case and decided last month that Righeimer had signed contracts with Milburn A. Matthews, a $500-an-hour partner at the San Juan Capistrano law firm of Coontz & Matthews.

In 2010 and 2011, Righeimer repeatedly refused to pay a series of valid legal bills for work on the councilman's numerous Southern California real estate projects, according to the court record.

The law firm filed the notice of the binding arbitration award after Friedman last month rejected Righeimer's attempts to delay a ruling as well as his stance that he wasn't personally liable for any of the bills.

Matthews shared with the Friedman an April 2010, letter from the councilman that acknowledged the debts by writing, "I will do everything I can to get you paid."

But, to the lawyer's displeasure, Righeimer also added that he wasn't personally responsible to pay the bills. Matthews fired back a letter that challenged the assertion.

Friedman determined that Righeimer breached the the contract and ordered him and his Marketplace at Weston Ranch to pay the debt.

According to a mandatory 2011 financial disclosure report, the first-term councilman reported his portion of the Marketplace property is valued between $100,000 and $1 million.

Righeimer, who shares Newport Beach offices with Orange County Republican Party chairman/corporate lobbyist Scott Baugh, is considered a top enemy of public employee unions in California.

He could not be reached for comment.

The Daily Pilot's Joseph Serna reported that Righeimer used more than $10,000 in campaign funds last August to travel to Mongolia to boost trade between China and Costa Mesa.

Go HERE to read one of my previous articles about bitter controversies surrounding Righeimer and his anti-union plans in Costa Mesa.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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28 comments
Darla
Darla

The Daily Pilot has more information about this situation.  According to the Pilot, the Weston development was financed by Lehman Brothers, which went bankrupt in 2008.  Looks like this project was among the many developments around the world that lost their funding when Lehman fell apart.

Thx1138 1
Thx1138 1

Look, the City of Costa Mesa is no different than a majority of cities across the country--and even many countries in Europe: they spend more than they take in. It's as simple as that.

Those who are quick to point fingers at those trying to put their house in order never propose solutions. It's far easier to flame than actually discuss as rational human beings.

Thanks for listening.

Recall Robert
Recall Robert

He's the Bill Bennett (Repug gambling and food addict) of OC: This Boss Hog wannabe lectures the rest of us on "fiscal responsibilty."

Zennymoon
Zennymoon

Is Riggy for real? ..what an irresponsible, bumbling , the rules don't apply to me attitude.  Hmm just what Costa Mesa needs in a council person....When is the election date?  Can't be too soon  to save Costa Mesa. 

Ghostladyjames
Ghostladyjames

At the last meeting he was the one who suggested that medical marijuana patients need to go to other cities to get their medicine. When we are in Costa Mesa, we spend money there. It took a resident watching the meeting at home to come down and say the city welcomes everyone to come there and shop, avoiding a Boycott on the city. This councilperson should definitely be recalled, He is not good for the city. I would suggest a one way ticket to Mongolia.

Sam
Sam

As of today, still nothing in the Daily Pilot or OC Register about this.  Of course the chickens in CDM made the news.

Gericault
Gericault

Everytime you turn around, from almost the day he moved here, this guy has tarnished the Name of Costa Mesa. His days in our political arena need to be numbered, ....

CuriouserAnd
CuriouserAnd

Nothing surprises me about this guy.  Righeimer may have someone lace up a pair of cement shoes before too long. 

Guest
Guest

Karma works!

Terri Fuqua
Terri Fuqua

This is the guy who ran his campaign on "financial responsibility"!  *HA*  What a joke!  I wish we could recall this flippin' idiot!

Moonbandito
Moonbandito

Jim never has enough money for lawyers. Trace his career. You'll see a pattern.

Sam
Sam

I wonder if the Daily Pilot and OC Register will jump on this.  Come on Serna and OC Watchdog.  Lets see how unbiased you really are.

Kwahlf
Kwahlf

He is immoral and dishonest!Righeimer needs to go.

Concerned in Costa Mesa
Concerned in Costa Mesa

This is the guy responsible for regular six figure legal bills Costa Mesa has to pay. Maybe he can find a way for the city to take care of this one too..

Kwahlf
Kwahlf

Yes, there are dozens of CM residents who speak up at council meetings. I am one of them. We do offer solutions which are ignored as are we who oppose their scheme to outsource over half of our city jobs. Now Righeimer is trying to ram through a charter, as quickly as possible. He doesn't want to wait for the Nov. election to vote on it, as the turnout will be higher for the General Election. Nevermind that it will be more expensive to put it on the June ballot.You would know this if you watched the CM City Council meetings on CMTV-Channel 24.btw, The Pot Stirrer wasn't insulting you. From your statement it's very easy to conclude that you haven't been to or watched the council meetings. We have.

The Pot Stirrer
The Pot Stirrer

Of course, it would be helpful if you had a clue about this issue.  Dozens of residents have stood before the council for most of the past 12 months trying to do precisely what you suggest.  Not only are reasonable solutions ignored, those delivering them are chided and vilified by members of the council FROM THE DAIS!  These guys are not used to having to follow the rules - as Moxley's article clearly points out - so they find ways to circumvent them or just ignore them.  Try living in our shoes, pal, before you fling your ignorant comments around.

joanswong
joanswong

 As long as we don't have to pay for the ticket, too, ghostladyjames...

The Pot Stirrer
The Pot Stirrer

Yep, that concerned citizen dragged himself off his couch, drove to City Hall and stepped to the speaker's podium to remind the audience, and those also watching at home, that we - the residents of Costa Mesa - appreciate folks from out of town coming to our city to satisfy their retail purchase needs.  We're happy that they come from miles around to shop at South Coast Plaza and on the Harbor Blvd. of Cars and to visit the OC MarketPlace at the Fairgrounds on the weekends.  WE, the residents, appreciate that even though Righeimer apparently does not.  But, then, increased sales means increased sales tax dollars, which puts a crimp in his plan to outsource practically every city job.  Moxley's article is an example of a pattern in Righeimer's life - he runs up the tab, then lets somebody else pay the bill.

jaylong
jaylong

 Karma isn't quick enough.  Let's throw the bums out.

joanlong
joanlong

 So why can't we recall him and Monahan while we're at it?

CuriouserAnd
CuriouserAnd

if only.  maybe a letter of complaint about the inept reporting on this council.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Chances are that the residents of Costa Mesa will pay his personal, (or LLC) legal bills, most likely as kickbacks from fees paid by contractors a;ready eyed to take the outsourced positions...

Thx1138 1
Thx1138 1

 Pot Stirrer: I'm glad to hear "dozens" of residents have appeared before council.

And thanks for the insults--you have demonstrated my point precisely.

Gericault
Gericault

I didn't drag myself "off the couch",...... I was washing dishes....

Thx1138 1
Thx1138 1

 "Imaginary deficits?" My guess is that the "dozens" of residents who *don't* appear are at home trying to balance their checkbooks, and hoping their city leaders do the same.

Karen Foster
Karen Foster

there HAVE been dozens of residents and we're all tired of this council but we know its not going to matter until Nov. elections and I'm voting D across the board on local goverment. And so are many I talk to. Just because we dont go to every city council meeting doesnt mean we dont care. We just know its a brick wall that way. If we talk against the council the unfab 4 say we're part of the union or some other  non sense to discredit us. Closer to Nov. I'll step up and get more into this. but its a long time and I have babies to take care of and dinner to make after I get off work. I dont have time to watch old men pat them selfs on the back and txt on their Iphones babbling about imaginary deficits to screw over hard working middle class people.

joanlong
joanlong

 ...& we thought you were quite the mensch even before you said you were doing dishes! Thank you so much for being there!

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