BY DON SORCHYCH | AUGUST 28, 2013
Town free meals
The horse trail
Usama Abujbarah has dropped the first bomb! Today, Aug. 26, his lawsuit against the town was delivered to Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek. Read Linda Bentley’s breaking news article, for details.
Of course the legal “brains” of Cave Creek wrote that Abujbarah would never sue. And who are the legal brains? Gary Birnbaum of Dickinson Wright (formerly Mariscal Weeks) and Adam Trenk of Rose Law Group (RLG). Birnbaum was a professor of Trenk’s so they are well-connected.
Birnbaum’s firm wrote a scathing letter in response to Abujbarah’s attorney Daniel Bonnett’s letter in which Bonnett framed his complaints, most of which Bonnett expressed at the council meeting where Abujbarah was lynched.
The two letters sent to Bonnett were actually signed by Ann Tiffen, a Dickinson Wright employee, but undoubtedly blessed by Birnbaum. The letters attempted to intimidate and threaten and may be the catalyst that caused the action.
Adam Trenk, in an email dated July 13, 2013, wrote: “Your personal belief that the town will be sued is an irrational one. Mr. Abujbarah was employed at will, and his contract spells out the term of early termination. Moreover, in order to collect his severance he needs to sign a release, disqualifying any potential lawsuit. Thus he must choose between a meritless lawsuit and a golden parachute packed for him by previous administrations.”
So the recipient of Trenk’s email is not irrational, but 100 percent right, while Trenk is 100 percent wrong. Trenk is lucky that RLG didn’t list Human Resources as another of his specialties.
This lawsuit will reveal the truth about the agreement among slate members to vote for Abujbarah’s removal from previous discussions among them. This, of course, is dependent on whether the slate will tell the truth while under oath. But to anyone in the audience at the hanging it was clear that, without discussion, the slate had their mind made up. The slate goal was to eliminate Abujbarah and Trenk was the leader, with support of the remaining three slate members.
That action was government at its worst and I hope there is a legal way to get them out of office. If there isn’t, then all of you will have your opportunity in recall proceedings that may begin as early as Dec. 3.
What is no surprise, but revealing of their lack of integrity, town attorneys had already flipped. At the lynching, rather than the usual Marlene Pontrelli representation as Town Attorney, Fredda Bisman and Ann Tiffen were the Dickinson Wright representatives. Abujbarah’s attorney, Dan Bonnett, might as well have been talking to a wall. Neither attorneys nor slate would listen to Bonnett’s warnings at the council meeting. In court they not only have to listen, but must respond. The slate must respond while under oath!
The next council meeting had a change of town attorneys. Gary Birbaum was there supported by the usual lawyer, Marlene Pontrelli. Birnbaum, incorrectly I believe, backed Trenk’s actions all the way. His view of the law will be tested in court.
This may be a first step, since the issue of first amendment rights has to be heard in a federal court.
But hang onto your seats for this one. We will, of course, report the suit in detail.
Interim Town Manager Rodney Glassman doesn’t seem to understand state statutes. He asked for free dinner (through Town Marshal Adam Stein) at the Horny Toad and received it. Then his secretary got a reservation for nine at the Buffalo Chip before last Monday’s council meeting. The night manager comped them.
State Statute 38-504 Prohibited acts:
“Paragraph C. A public officer or employee shall not use or attempt to use the officer’s or employee’s official position to secure any valuable thing or valuable benefit for the officer or employee that would not normally accrue to the officer or employee in the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official duties if the thing or benefit is of such character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence on the officer or employee with respect to the officer’s or employee’s duties.”
So I believe a number of people owe at least the Horny Toad and the Buffalo Chip for their dinners and others whose arms the town twisted. I understand Thomas McGuire has repaid for his dinners. How come lawyer Trenk didn’t know? It is important to pay up, although it is a lot like a bank robber giving the money back after being caught by authorities.
And by the way, where was the mayor when these ambitious plans were developed to dine at local restaurants for free?
Such abuse wouldn’t have happened if Abujbarah still sat in the town manager’s chair. And that is why they got rid of him, for the time being anyway. But he was lynched by Trenk, Monachino, Spitzer and Durkin, with emphasis on ring leader Trenk.
The horse trail
The Cave Creek General Plan calls for a horse trail running from Old Stage Road to 48th Street. Cave Creek embarked on the planning for it but was stopped by a temporary restraining order (TRO) by Gerald Freeman, who is my neighbor and has sued me three times. Freeman and I are the only users of the easement which connects us to Old Stage Road. Freeman included me as a defendant although I am in no way involved except that I favor the trail. I have encouraged horsemen and hikers to show up at town hall and demand their rights under the general plan.
The TRO has been continued twice and will be heard on Sept. 9. The town has met in executive session to consider a settlement. Apparently Freeman’s offer is that the town drops the idea of a horse trail. That, of course, would mean that anyone who disagrees with town improvements, like this one, can simply fire off a lawsuit and the town would wimp out. Great way to run a town.
However there is another possible solution to the problem for the town. The creation of a subdivision to the south of Morning Star by defendant Cahava Springs would obligate Cave Creek to give access which is Cahava Springs property except for a parcel or two that could be purchased.
The subdivision alternative would also take Trenk, who claims he is a big time horseman, off the hook. On one hand Freeman has been a friend to the slate and gave money to them. He also funded a lawsuit to keep Dick Esser off the ballot. So Trenk could vote to give Freeman his way and not have to defend a vote against horsemen.
Don’t forget the town has spent substantial money on engineering the horse trail over difficult terrain and it is ready to go. This important trail would connect west side horse riders to Cave Creek and also a path to the town recreation area. The town should let Freeman continue his suit because I believe the town would win anyway and the trail would finally become a reality.