BY DON SORCHYCH | OCTOBER 23, 2013
A look back
The following, printed on Aug. 28, 2013, is to remind our readers of the background before the recalls begin:
“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.”
The first court hearing has been held. Abujbarah’s attorneys are now in the discovery stage and there are huge discoveries to be made. With subpoena powers in their hands the Abujbarah/Bonnett team will lift the cloak from the slate’s actions.
Cave Creek/Carefree courts combined?
This editorial was printed on April 7, 2010:
“The idea of combining Cave Creek and Carefree courts has been around for awhile.
Carefree Councilmen Bob Coady and Peter Koteas had a head of steam until Mayor David Schwan torpedoed their efforts by keeping records from them even though any person has a right under open records statutes.
It is clear now that GOBs’ claim of fiscal stability in Carefree was a huge lie, but necessary in their minds to keep Schwan in office.
Schwan said as much in a meeting with Cave Creek officials. His plea for financial help was so loud and clear that Town Manager Usama Abujbarah broke ranks with Mayor Vincent Francia by agreeing to continued discussions. Francia made it clear from the outset he was against the idea.
Not only that, but Abujbarah even agreed to a change of venue to have a joint council meeting in Carefree even though it had already been set in Cave Creek. Carefree wanted to show the Cave Creek council the splendor of their court facilities, which is one of their financial problems by the way.
The Carefree offer is totally self serving and will never be approved by Cave Creek. Carefree wants the court in their present location and apparently with their employees.
I believe citizens of each town will object to a location not in their town.
The cost problem relates to the court system itself. The court insists each court be open 40 hours each week. Has anyone asked the court for approval of limited hours?
Cave Creek has two full time employees, while Carefree has four.
Who is kept and who goes? Remember that there could be lingering animosity. Carefree Court Administrator Adrianne Larson was terminated by Cave Creek, filed a suit and collected $45,000 from the town.
Remember former Carefree Mayor Bob Anderson getting a magistrate appointment from the Carefree council over the objections of their own attorney and the court? The outcome was a disaster and he was removed. The same mentality of appointing friends and good old boys remains.
If the courts were combined it makes more sense to retain Cave Creek’s competent judge, staff and prosecutor. It is already near break even while Carefree’s court is one of their major financial issues along with their funding of an expensive fire department.
I don’t think Cave Creek citizens would object but I am sure Carefree citizens would even though 95 percent of those served by the Carefree court live in other municipalities.”
I was wrong that Cave Creek would ever go along with this disastrous combining, but who would have predicted a slate victory? One thing I do know is that it was done in a rush with bad numbers and Cave Creek will rue the day. Referendum anyone?