Claremont Insider: Lies, Damn Lies, and Depositions

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and Depositions

Our post on Sunday commented on a letter to the Claremont Courier that noted some factual errors in a Courier insert that city council candidate Bridget Healy distributed with the paper a couple weeks ago.

The letter in question referred to a statement in Healy's flyer which listed her supposed accomplishments as Claremont's Assistant City Manager. The letter, quoting the flyer, incorrectly stated that the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park cost the City nothing. In fact, as we pointed out, Claremont paid $1.25 million, or about $1,000 an acre, for the land.

Here's the flyer, both sides, for your review:

Click on Images to Enlarge

As you can see, Healy's campaign very clearly states that it is presenting us with a mere "partial list of accomplishments to which Bridget made significant contributions during her years of public service to Claremont's citizens [emphasis added]." The first item on the list is the acquisition of "1,600 acres of Wilderness Park as well as the Padua Theater [sic] at no cost to the tax payers [sic] of Claremont [emphasis added]."

We've already shown from city documents that it cost the city a million two to pay for the Wilderness Park. But, we wondered, did Healy really have all that much to do with the park or the Padua Hills Theatre at all?

On January 13, 2006, Bridget Healy, who by then had left Claremont for Indio, was deposed as a witness in the Palmer Canyon lawsuit. That suit was brought by homeowners whose houses burned down in October, 2003, due to alleged negligence by the city of Claremont in failing to properly implement its brush management for the Wilderness Park. The suit settled for $17.5 million - the largest settlement ever paid out by the city's insurer.

Ever since the lawsuit settled last year, Healy's deposition transcript has been making the rounds among curious town insiders. We read it. The questioner that day was plaintiff counsel Mark S. Grotefeld. On pages 20-22, Healy very clearly stated--and repeated--that she had nothing whatsoever to do with either the Wilderness Park or the Padua Hills Theatre:
In the matter of
Bassett v. City of Claremont
L.A. County Superior Court
Civil Case No. KC 045147

Deposition of Bridget Healy

Claremont, California,
Friday, January 13, 2006

having been administered an oath, was examined and testified as follows:

[Pages 20-22]

Grotefeld: ....give me an example of what you mean by special projects.

Healy: The Orange County bankruptcy, release of a serial rapist in the community, securing a paramedic squad in the city, working with the school district on policies and procedures for high school student safety and campus security.

Grotefeld: As you sit here today do you recall being involved with any special projects that related to the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park?

Healy: No.

. . . . .

Grotefeld: As you sit here today do you recall any special projects that you worked on that dealt with the Padua Theatre?

Healy: No.

. . . . .

Grotefeld: Would it be a fair statement to say that the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park was not something that you, in terms of your work as the assistant city manager performed any job function with respect to?

Healy: Correct.

. . . . .

Grotefeld: All right, the wilderness park came into -- at some point during the time that you were city manager [sic; he means assistant city manager, but Healy doesn't correct him] the city acquired the wilderness park, do you recall that happening?

Healy: Correct.

Grotefeld: Did you have any involvement with the acquisition of that land?

Healy: No.

Healy cannot have it both ways. If her most recent campaign flyer statements are accurate, then Healy testified falsely under oath three years ago. If her deposition testimony is truthful, then her campaign's statements are false.

Which is it? Is Healy's campaign misrepresenting facts, making them up out of whole cloth with respect to her so-called accomplishments (they actually called them "gifts" from Healy to Claremont). Or could Healy have committed perjury in her sworn deposition testimony on January 13, 2006?

You tell us.

Here's the entire transcript (click on the little box in the upper right-hand corner to enlarge to full screen):

A letter in today's Courier [not online as this was written, but added by the Courier midday Wednesday] points out Healy's contradictory statement from another angle. Dean McHenry, who frequently comments on the local scene quite apart from his wife, former city councilmember Jackie McHenry, cites the following statement by the City's insurance defense attorney, Edwin Richards: "Healy testified she had no involvement whatsoever with regard to the park acquisition."