Diane Harkey Has Now Been Served… With a Lawsuit

Remember what I told you last week about Dana Point Mayor Diane Harkey, her allies in city government, and their possible reluctance to comply with the California Public Records Act?

Well, apparently there was some substance to that claim. At last night’s Dana Point City Council meeting, attorneys for local concerned residents served Diane Harkey, City Attorney Patrick Munoz, and City Manager Doug Chotkevys with a lawsuit claiming that they have withheld what should be public information on what legal advice Harkey received from the city last year.

So now, we’re facing new questions with Harkey. What legal advice did she receive from the city? Why does it seem like she’s so reluctant to give the public what should be public information regarding her business with the city? And why does there seem to be such a veil of secrecy over city government in Dana Point?

OK, so we know that according to state law, public records should be open to public inspection. We know that every person has a right to inspect any public record, with only a few exceptions that require great reason for justifying nondisclosure. So now, we need to see if this legal advice given to Diane Harkey is public record. And if so, why isn’t Diane Harkey revealing it?

The public is best served when its public servants allow the public to hold them accountable. But for some reason, Diane Harkey is afraid of seeing that happen in Dana Point. And now, she has this new ethical cloud hanging over her head with this Public Records Act dispute. So what will it take to open up Dana Point City Hall, and what will it take to clean up what looks like a truly nasty mess?

  5 comments for “Diane Harkey Has Now Been Served… With a Lawsuit

  1. antony cooke
    September 19, 2007 at 9:14 am

    Apparently she still doesn’t get it. Having packed the Council Chambers last night with her friends, she allowed them to spew the same old venomous rhetoric of personal attacks all over again – with never an interruption. She made those of us in favor of the recall wait for almost 4 hours to speak – but with multiple interruptions! The Brown Act violation was technically ‘handled’ without so much as any admission of wrongdoing, because it ‘would save the city legal bills’. I am not sure that what was done represents the end of the issue or not. Jim Lacy will need to review the actions of the Council.

    There is nothing about Dana Point’s government which represents openness or representing anyone but friends of Diane Harkey. Repeatedly we heard her refer to people speaking favorably about her as her friend of many years, and the like. No-one else rates. The business of the city is being increasingly blurred with Harkey’s political agenda, and there seems to be no limit to what is found acceptable in her eyes. Any normal person would try to address concerns of critical residents and charges raised, but Harkey either thinks she can do no wrong, or holds critics in complete contempt. If you have an opposing viewpoint in Dana Point, prepare to be ignored or publicly trashed – even made to feel threatened.

  2. Andrew Davey
    September 19, 2007 at 9:24 am


    Yep, that seems to be precisely the problem in Dana Point right now. Diane Harkey looks as Dana Point as her own personal fiefdom, and all “non-compliant serfs” be damned. That’s the problem here. So now, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about this latest CAPRA lawsuit. I still want to know why Harkey doesn’t want to release those documents… But I guess until I know what’s in those documents, we’ll never know why “Queen Harkey” doesn’t want her “subjects” to know what legal advice she’s getting from the city.

  3. robert traphagen
    September 19, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Thanks, Andrew. Sorry you didn`t make the meeting but in truth you didn`t miss much. Harkey was given the papers by Martha Torgow, a high powered regarding these type of matters. Because she didn`t get to the Santa Ana Court by closing time the actual stamped lawsuit is being filed today and served to Harkey and Chotkevys today, along with the City Clerk. Then keep in mind that in the beginning of Oct. Colleen and I are serving Harkey and Makar with a personal lawsuit for $1 million or more and tried by jury. Re: the Brown Act violation The City went as far to make the resolution null and void. So we can take a huge victory here and be the watchdog in the future. Keep up your great reporting and thank, Robert Traphagen

  4. Guido
    September 19, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Having watched the scenario on television, the Dana Point City Council meeting was nothing more than a bunch of people, who have no idea what the recall is all about, standing before the council and berating the proponents of the recall. Even Pat Munoz, city attorney interrupted Malcolm Wilson when Mr. Wilson brought up the fact that Rutan and Tucker, his law firm is supporting Harkey as Harkey was seen in an advertisement for Rutan and Tucker in the Orange County Business Journal back in the Spring.

    I heard arguments on both sides regarding the “Resolution” that the four council members had signed and once again they are playing partisan politics as all of this had to be done behind closed doors as the fifth council member, Lara Anderson stated that she would not be a part of this when it was presented to her. Hear! Hear! Kudos to Lara.

    To deny that Dick Ackerman, the Republican Minority Leader in the Sate Senate does not have anything to do with Rutan and Tucker, Munoz should be cited for a libelous statement when he interrupted Tony Cooke. Then Harkey kept interrupting both of them during their three minute speeches.

    Yet, I did not hear her interrupt Dick Deitmeier, Pam Tappan or any of her stupid supporters when they slandered and harrassed the proponents once again. This is aggravated assault on the part of the mayor. Coming from her, folks is no surprise. Actually, her husband is fighting many cases against him in court…for what you ask? Fraud! Need I say more???

    Unethical people? You bet your bippy!

  5. Andrew Davey
    September 19, 2007 at 12:22 pm


    Well, I’m sorry to hear about what happened last night. Jeez, I guess Harkey isn’t even pretending to be fair any more! I guess it’s her loss.


    My goodness, those Harkeystas are getting desperate! For such “powerful and connected” people, they seem to be SO AFRAID of all the little “subjects” that aren’t very amused by Queen Harkey and her antics. Again, why are Harkey and her allies so afraid? If the recall effort is so “ridiculous”, then why are they taking the threat so seriously? Something tells me Dana Point may be in for some serious change.

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