How to go bankrupt – We demand an explanation

by | Aug 14, 2017 | 0 comments

Who do Vallejo City Councilmembers Verder-Aliga, Malgapo, and Sunga think they work for? They directly and explicitly sacrificed the city’s interest for that of VMT/Orcem by deciding VMT/Orcem does not have to pay us the money they owe us!

We demand an explanation for this decision. These council members need to explain themselves. Now.

Here is the 1:30 video on the specific vote for you to see.



And here is a more detailed discussion:

Martin Gruber: How to go bankrupt

Who do Vallejo City Councilmembers Verder-Aliga, Malgapo, and Sunga think they’re working for? They have directly and explicitly sacrificed the city’s interest for that of Orcem/VMT, by deciding they don’t have to pay us the money they owe us and that it is OK for us to be footing the bill for work they are supposed to pay for.

What I witnessed at the city council was one of the stupidest things I have ever seen. At the June 1 meeting, the council had directed Orcem/VMT to work with the staff to produce a final project description and to agree to the delay of resolution of its appeal while the problems with the EIR are worked out. However, Verder-Aliga, who made the motion in question, evidently forgot that Orcem/VMT does not work for the city and cannot simply be ordered to do things. There must be an “or else what?” clause, specifying a consequence for non-compliance.

Well, Orcem/VMT pretty much blew off staff on the description and said they would “discuss” a tolling agreement. A tolling agreement is the conventional mechanism by which Orcem would consent to the delay in resolution of its appeal. The delay is in its interest, since there is as yet no final EIR, so if it were decided now, the decision would have to be no. But that doesn’t change the fact that Orcem has the right to a prompt resolution, and the city has liability for the delay. Since Orcem/VMT did not produce by deadline, staff had a 3 part recommendation for council:

• Kick the can down the road by giving them to August 25.

• Explicitly require a tolling agreement.

• Or else what if Orcem/VMT did not produce by the deadline, decide the appeal without the missing material.

Verder-Aliga asked to vote on these provisions separately, so they did. First one passed, giving Orcem/VMT more time. Then Miessner brought up that applicants had not kept up its payments to pay for the processing of the application. When questioned, staff pointed out that VMT was also behind on its rent. Miessner didn’t want to dip into the General Fund for expenses applicants were supposed to be paying, so she wanted this to be part of the tolling agreement resolution. Verder-Aliga countered that she wanted a vote just on the tolling agreement. Dew-Costa was absent, so 3-3 ties were possible. Verder-Aliga got her version voted on first: Tolling agreement, so applicants agree to delay of appeal, but applicants don’t have to pay its bills.

Is this a hard question? Should Orcem/VMT pay the city the money they owe or not?

Verder-Aliga, Malgapo, and Sunga thought not, so they voted for Verder-Aliga’s resolution, which failed, 3-3. Then Miessner got to have her version, which got the other three votes, and also failed. The result: Orcem/VMT doesn’t have to pay its bills, at least right now, and there is no tolling agreement, since neither version passed. So the city is spending all this time trying to get the FEIR certified so that the appeal can possibly be decided in applicants’ favor, but applicants have a right to timely resolution of its appeal. Now, we have a situation where applicants are causing delay, which generates liability for the city, because applicants have not consented to the delay they are causing. And why? Because half the city council thinks they shouldn’t pay the city money it owes us.

No wonder this town went bankrupt.

— Martin Gruber/Vallejo