Tulare councilmember sues city he represents

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tulare City Councilmember Greg Nunley's current case deserves some context.

Last year, he was sued by a retired Tulare Police lieutenant, who, among other things, alleged Nunley, a real estate developer, failed to pay the city of Tulare more than $440,000 in development impact fees for various construction projects.

In March of this year, Nunley's attorneys sent Tulare a claim notice, alleging the city hurt Nunley's reputation and finances by applying unfair standards and scrutiny to his projects.

Forcing him to do extra or unnecessary work.

Changing or fabricating documentation to create the impression Nunley failed to submit paperwork or pay fees in a timely fashion.

Making false statements about those fees and paperwork.

His attorneys asked that the city apologize to Nunley and pay him $16.5 million.

City councilmembers denied that claim in April.

Last month, Nunley followed up with a lawsuit against the city, arguing it developed a scheme that gave other developers an unfair advantage over him in their real estate activities.

"Highly unusual to have a city councilperson suing the city that he represents," ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi said. "That's highly unusual."

In the lawsuit, Nunley's attorneys list the same allegations from the claim that was denied, but add that the city delayed Nunley's projects and informed his "potential business clients and associates that they would be better served working with other developers."

His attorneys go on to name some of the business relationships the city allegedly interfered with.

The suit, like the claim, says the city has hurt Nunley's reputation and finances.

Capozzi says Nunley has the burden of proof, so he will have to show the allegations are true.

But he isn't sure the city will want to take the case to trial.

The first court date is set for February.

"It might be best just to settle this, but I think it's going to be something for very nominal damages, very little," Capozzi said. "It's hard to say whether or not the city councilman's going to get any money out of this unless he can show some serious damages and loss of his business because of what the city said that was not true."

The lawsuit by the retired Tulare Police Lieutenant against Nunley has since settled but its terms are confidential.

Earlier this year, the same attorney who represented the retired lieutenant obtained and released a report on an investigation into complaints by city staff against Nunley.

That investigation, done by another attorney, cost the city $20,000.

Nunley's attorneys have not responded to Action News' requests for interviews.

Nunley's term ends next year, but he could run again.
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