Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2022  
  < RETURN  
  Lost Tales of Point Molate - McLaughlin Snatches Defeat from Victory
May 9, 2022

After the City rejected the casino project in 2011, Upstream and Guidiville (“Tribe”) brought a lawsuit in federal court, claiming the City had breached the Land Disposition Agreement. In 2013 U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers ruled in favor of the City,  stating that Upstream's claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment and specific performance were denied. (See Court Dismisses Most of Lawsuit Against City Over Point Molate, December 17, 2013)

Subsequently in 2015, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers awarded the City nearly $2 million in attorney’s fees (See Federal District Court Awards City of Richmond Nearly $2 million in Fees for Point Molate Litigation, August 18, 2015), Upstream and the Tribe then filed an appeal.

With the legal challenge apparently headed the right direction, the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) and its alter ego, Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate, began to plan a future for Point Molate that was somewhat murky except that it did not include housing. (See The Coming Battle Over Point Molate, August 24, 2016, and Save Point Molate from the RPA, July 23, 2016). There were ongoing unsuccessful efforts in 2016 to settle litigation with Upstream, with RPA City Council members feeling the previous district court decision had provided them with substantial leverage. (See McLaughlin – “Pt. Molate Process Deeply Offensive to the Public,” July 19, 2016)

In 2017, like the Warriors vaulting from a 10-point deficit to victory in the last 5 minutes, Upstream forged ahead, and Richmond suffered a huge reversal of fortune. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit vacated the District Court’s previous judgment, including the award of $2 million in attorneys’ fees, citing a plausible claim that Mayor Gayle McLaughlin had breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by lobbying public officials to “deny, delay or otherwise oppose the Tribe’s quest to obtain the necessary federal and state approvals for gaming.” See Setback for City of Richmond in Point Molate Litigation, August 4, 2017, and McLaughlin Defensive About Losing Point Molate, April 26, 2018)