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Riverside’s writ of mandate that seeks an injunction against a city councilmember was picked up by the Fourth District Court of Appeal April 14.

The writ seeks to prevent Riverside Councilmember Charles Conder, and former Councilmember Steven Adams, from sharing confidential legal information learned during closed session with Riverside Air Service owner Tony Platt, who is fighting the city in court. The city claims both men already shared confidential information, with Adams doing so by a declaration to Platt’s counsel.

The injunction seeks to prevent Conder and Adams from disclosing confidential information during their upcoming testimony in the Platt case, Riverside Superior Judge Eric Keen wrote in a tentative ruling.

Conder denied the accusations in a declaration.

“I have never revealed any information to anyone that I may have received during any closed session relating to or regarding the Platt lawsuit against the City while serving as a City Council member,” the declaration says.

Adams filed a similar denial.

When contacted for comment, Riverside Spokesperson Phil Pitchford described the cases’ procedural history.

The Court of Appeal picked up the case to review Keen’s decision not to recuse Conder’s counsel, former attorney Rod Pacheco. The city, who filed the appeal, argued that Pacheco has a conflict of interest because he also represents Platt. Keen disagreed. He wrote that the Platt case is against the city, not Conder and Adams, so he is not representing two sides of any lawsuit.

Adams’ attorney, Rod Pacheco, have not yet replied to requests for comment.

Platt sued the city over the terms of a lease at Riverside Municipal Airport.

He spent $210,000 to refurbish a hangar, but later discovered the backdated lease had terms he did not agree to, including an agreement to pay Riverside 90% of all rental income, according to Keen’s tentative ruling. Summary adjudication reduced the issues to a question of good faith bargaining by the city.

Both Adams and Conder are listed as witnesses. Adams is stated to testify about policies and procedure of approval of airport leases, and Conder is stated to testify about the approval of terms and directions to the city council. The trial is trailing.

Keen issued a tentative ruling April 17 that would have granted a preliminary injunction against Conder from disclosing confidential information obtained in a closed session. The hearing on the ruling is stayed while the Court of Appeal handles the case.

Keen wrote that Adams’ declaration did not clearly violate confidentiality.

“Thus far, there is no indication that Conder has disclosed information to the Platt litigation,” Keen also wrote.

Still, they possibly could share confidential information during testimony, and an injunction would ensure that Conder and Adams did not violate the Brown Act by doing so, Keen wrote.

An April 10 restraining order against Conder and Adams, caused by the writ, prevents them from communicating with the Platt representatives.

Conder claimed the writ was politically motivated.

“The complaint was politically motivated against me as I frequently disagree with the majority of the current City Council on policy matters for the City and my fellow Council members, with whom I disagree, made the complaint,” Conder wrote in his declaration.

He claims to have previously been accused of sharing legal information in a legal case involving a business called Ice Town.

Conder has been on the Riverside City Council since June 2017.

City counsel Debra Cook and Phaedra Norton represent the city.

Rodric Pacheco represents Conder and Adams.

Case No. CVRI230072

Appellate Case No. E0810945

Read the writ of mandate here.

Read Conder’s declaration here.

Read Keen’s tentative ruling here.

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