By Royal Calkins
Carmel is spending several thousands of dollars to fight a public record lawsuit although, City Attorney Glen Mozingo testified Wednesday, the Carmel City Council never voted to litigate the matter.
Mozingo also maintained in a deposition that he had received a Congressional Gold Medal though there is no record of him having received the award, which, after the Congressional Medal of Honor for military heroism, is the second most prestigious award presented by Congress. Several lists of the award winners exist, and they represent a range of luminaries including the likes of Jonas Salk, Ronald Reagan, Douglas McArthur, Winston Churchill, Jesse Owens, the Wright Brothers and Charles Lindbergh. Mozingo’s name appears on none of the lists. Here is probably the most illuminating list, containing details on the selection methodology.
Mozingo apparently received two lesser congressional awards from the Republican National Committee for legislative input, but has insisted on his resumé and in conversation that one of them is the coveted gold medal. He said Wednesday that he was given one of the awards by Ronald Reagan and the other by a representative of George Bush. He didn’t specify which Bush or which president was involved with which award.
Carmel Mayor Steve Dallas has told constituents that the City Council is comfortable with most of the representations made on Mozingo’s resumé, but not the claim of a Congressional Gold Medal. Nonetheless, the council declared in June that they had found his application paperwork to be completely accurate.
Mozingo’s testimony was in preparation for a Sept. 7 Monterey Superior Court hearing on a petition by this writer and Transparency in Government. It seeks a court order enabling public review of materials Mozingo presented to the City Council in a closed session called for him to answer questions that Voices of Monterey Bay had raised about the purported Congressional Gold Medal award and several other seemingly inaccurate entries on the application and resumé he presented while pursuing the City Attorney’s position more than a year ago.
Among the issues raised by Voices are his false claim to have never been sued for malpractice, his claim to have been “special counsel” to Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates for eight years, his claim to have received an advanced degree from Oxford and to be a member of the British bar, his claim to have been hired by then Mayor Pete Wilson of San Diego to handle a key redevelopment project, his claim to have done trial work for several other Southern California cities, and his claim to have handled 138 jury trials, losing only two. Voices has noted several times that some of the claims, such as the British bar membership, could be true but cannot be independently verified, partly because Mozingo provided so few details in his application documents.
Mozingo testified that he compiled a strong won-loss record while handling several dozen trials on behalf of the Automobile Association of American very early in his three-decade legal career. He spent most of his career on business formation and estate planning but said Wednesday he also had been a litigation specialist.
Though he says in his city attorney application that he had never been sued for malpractice, Mozingo acknowledged Wednesday that he had been sued once for professional negligence and another time for malpractice. Both cases were filed in Orange County Superior Court. According to court records, Mozingo prevailed in one case and the other was settled out of court. Mozingo said Wednesday that he prevailed in both cases but that his insurance carrier insisted on a settlement in one case that he had won.
In the deposition, Mozingo was questioned by Neil S. Shapiro, a veteran first amendment lawyer representing this writer and his own Transparency in Government group.
Mozingo was represented by one of his two deputies, Jon Giffen. Under a new five-year contract recently awarded to Mozingo by the Carmel council, both lawyers presumably received $275 an hour for the deposition time and Giffen and the other deputy, Gerard Rose, would have received the same for working on a detailed court filing submitted last week. Rose likely billed $275 an hour for an earlier filing submitted in opposition to the Voices and Transparency in Government petition.
The contract specifies an hourly wage of $195 for routine city attorney functions but the rate jumps to $275 for public records work and other activities deemed to be more difficult, including court appearances and prosecution of city code violators. After awarding the contract, City Council members congratulated themselves for “locking in” relatively low rates for five years, apparently forgetting that Mozingo can get out of the contract at any time.
Mozingo declined to answer most of Shapiro’s questions about the subject of the litigation, the materials he presented to the council in support of the assertions on his resumé. In his court papers, Shapiro argues that materials presented to a governing body in closed session cannot legally remain private. Mozingo and Giffen argued that they are private and that identifying them would violate the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, attorney-client privilege and Mozingo’s privacy rights. In the closed-door session, Giffen and Rose represented the City Council. Mozingo said he was unrepresented.
Though the attorneys maintained that identifying any of the materials would violate the law, City Councilwoman Carrie Theis rattled off a list of the types of materials involved and specified that one of the materials presented by Mozingo was a letter of commendation from a Supreme Court justice. The city’s latest legal filing also mentions that one of the items reviewed by the council was a letter from a former secretary of the Treasury.
“Mr. Mozingo’s resumé was correct in every manner and … the representations, allegations and challenges to that resume are entirely without merit,” Theis said in June.
In their court filing last week, the city’s lawyers also wrote that one of the documents presented is proof of Mozingo’s membership in the London Board of International Trade, a membership that, like the letter from the justice or the treasury secretary, has not been in dispute.
According to Shapiro and other media lawyers, it can be successfully argued that identifying some of the items claimed to be privileged can be considered to be a waiver of privilege.
In the city’s initial response to the public records petition, the city’s lawyers attacked this writer as a “documented liar.” In the more recent filing they dismiss the petition as “Calkins’ latest politically motivated effort to defame Mr. Mozingo in a transparent effort to generate controversy and public attention so as to attract a larger fan base for Calkins’ blog at the expense of an innocent man’s reputation.”
They didn’t specify the political motivations.
The city’s latest filings are posted below.
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