GLENDALE ( — A grassroots organization says they have filed a lawsuit accusing the city of Glendale of misappropriating $90 million of Glendale Water & Power funds.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the Glendale Coalition for Better Government asked a judge to put a stop to “the illegal transfers and reimburse the utilities with the approximately $90 million in misappropriated funds,” according to Arthur Cohen, an attorney representing the coalition.

“These transfers amount to hidden taxes that are unlawful unless submitted to a vote and approved by the city of Glendale, and of course, it was not,” Cohen said.

City officials have previously said transferring funds from Glendale Water & Power to the city’s general fund for police and other public services is the only way to maintain Glendale’s level of services.

In March, a civil grand jury report concluded that the city had used Glendale Water & Power as a “piggy bank” to meet other budget needs, according to the Glendale News-Press.

Cohen said the practice has not sufficiently changed despite the grand jury report, adding, “When the voice of the people falls on deaf ears, the only remedy is legal action.”

Frank Gallo, president of the Glendale Coalition for Better Government, said he believes Glendale’s public utilities have not been properly maintained, putting residents and property at risk.

“In the past two years, the citizens of Glendale have suffered two abusive utility rate increases,” Gallo said. “The basic ‘water rate’ doubled for most residents while the dedicated fire line cost for businesses increased almost tenfold.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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