With the next round of debate looming in the a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit it lost, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association's latest federal court filings offer up more information about the union's finances.
The documents filed Monday in federal court in Sacramento indicate that the union is scaling back spending as it braces for the possibility it might lose its appeal of the nearly $5 million judgment leveled against it in Dawe v. Corrections USA, CCPOA, et al.
"CCPOA has budgeted to spend over $3 million less in non-legal related expenses than the prior year," the union's chief operations officer and general counsel, David A. Sanders, asserts in this declaration. "CCPOA is fully cognizant of the judgment in this action and already has begun making responsible adjustments to its budget in order to balance its responsibilities to is membership with its obligation to pay if its appeal is unsuccessful."
As part of those cutbacks, Sanders says that the union won't renew its $230,000-per-year season tickets for suite seats at Power Balance Pavilion, home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings. That decision, Sanders says, was made "approximately a year and a half ago," but the union was obligated to keep paying for the tickets until its contract expires next month.
Dawe attorney Daniel Baxter contends in papers filed Aug. 3 that the union also had given $1 million to the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C.
CCPOA has pledged $1 million but paid $250,000 three years ago toward the memorial, according to the union's court filing. The project has since run aground financially, so the union hasn't paid any more.
"While CCPOA intends to honor its pledge, in light of the (Dawe) judgment, CCPOA does not intend to make any additional payments towards its pledge at this time," Sanders says in his Aug. 22 declaration.
The Dawe matter now returns to Judge Lawrence Karlton's courtroom with attorneys debating CCPOA's argument that it should be able to put up four properties it owns as collateral while it appeals the ruling. The union said last month that it didn't have enough liquid assets to buy a bond to cover an amount equal to 125 percent above the $5 million award Dawe is due pending appeal.
The 5-year-old case stems from CCPOA's ouster of businessman Dawe from the board of directors of Corrections USA. Dawe claimed that the firing was unjust and that CCPOA officials publicly discredited him without merit. The union's actions affected his ability to earn a living and damaged his company, Flat Iron Mountain Associates. Click here for more background.
The bond issue is scheduled for oral argument on Monday at 10 a.m. in Karlton's downtown Sacramento courtroom. Here are the documents submitted in the case:
By plaintiff Brian Dawe (filed Aug. 3):
Plaintiff's opposition to defendant's motion to allow posting of alternative security (52 pages)
Declaration of Daniel L. Baxter in support of plaintiffs' opposition to defendants' motion to allow posting of alternative security (40 pages)
States that CCPOA contributed $1 million to the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C. (the union says that was pledged, not paid)
A sidebar comment by Baxter to Karlton during a Jan. 18, 2011 hearing: "I know for a fact that CCPOA would be able to pay this judgment."
CCPOA lawyer Dean Zipster responds, "I can represent to the court that the punitive damage awards would be catastrophic ..."
An appraiser's estimate that if CCPOA lost its appeal and subsequently lost its West Sacramento headquarters to pay the judgment, it would cost about $2 million for Dawe to lease the property to another tenant.
By defendants Corrections USA and CCPOA (filed Monday)
Defendants' reply in support of motion to allow posting of alternative security (8 pages)
Declaration of David Sanders (CCPOA's general counsel) in support of defendants' reply in support of motion to allow posting of alternative security (6 pages)
Sanders' statement that CCPOA paid $250,000, not $1 million, toward the law enforcement officers' memorial in Washington, D.C.
Asserts that union budget figures cited during last year's trial are old. Lists CCPOA budget cuts totaling $4.6 million.
Notes that Wells Fargo Bank and five other firms turned down the union's loan and bond inquiries because it couldn't meet liquid collateral requirements.