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San Diego Will Pay SoccerCity Legal Fees

The Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego is pictured in this undated photo.
Milan Kovacevic
The Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego is pictured in this undated photo.

The city of San Diego will pay legal fees racked up by SoccerCity backers who fought to keep their initiative on the November ballot.

City attorney Mara Elliott took backers of both SoccerCity and SDSU West to court in an effort to have the measures removed from the ballot. The city lost both cases and both expedited appeals.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has since agreed with SoccerCity attorney Michael Attanasio who called the city actions strategic lawsuits against public participation.

“If you try to limit someone from exercising their right to participate in public forums, then not only will you lose your case, if that’s what you’ve done. But you may also be on the hook for attorney’s fees which can be a significant deterrent,” Attanasio said.

RELATED: SDSU West Gets Tentative Reprieve And Stays On Ballot

San Diego will have to pay SoccerCity backers more than $100,000 to cover their legal fees.

SoccerCity proposes to redevelop the Mission Valley Stadium site. If voters give the measure approval at the polls they could negotiate with the city to build housing, commercial space, a sports stadium and river park. The project is designed to lure a professional soccer team to San Diego.

SDSU West wants voter approval to build housing, commercial space, a sports stadium and river park as part of an auxiliary campus for San Diego State University.

The measure that gets the most votes over 50 percent would prevail.

Attanasio does not think the city attorney’s challenges will impact how voters see the SoccerCity measure when they go to the polls in November.

“I’m confident the taxpayers will look at the initiative and judge it on its own merits and that’s all SoccerCity proponents wanted, was the opportunity to make the case for why this was the best initiative,” Attanasio said.

The competing initiative by SDSU West was also challenged by the city but it is not clear that SDSU West backers filed a similar motion.

The city attorney to not respond when asked to comment.

San Diego Will Pay SoccerCity Legal Fees
The city of San Diego is on the hook for legal fees racked up by SoccerCity backers who defended their initiative in court this summer.

Corrected:
KPBS is a service of San Diego State University.