Valley Center, CA
June 24, 2022
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Accretive lawsuit settled: no win, no foul

The Roadrunner has learned that the lawsuit that the Accretive Group (through Fallbrook resident Paul Schumann)  filed several months ago against the five people who signed the ballot argument against Proposition B last year has been settled, with neither side agreeing to pay legal fees to the other.

Since Accretive (through Schumann), had sought to be paid legal fees, it has, in essence, agreed to drop the suit without winning its point.

The final details of the settlement between the two parties are still being worked out, which is why there has been no official announcement of the settlement. However, the bottom line is that Schumann will not be paid the nearly $89,000 he sought in legal fees.

Two of those named in the lawsuit, Lou Obermeyer and Victor Reed, have a Valley Center connection. Dr. Obermeyer was the superintendent of schools in Valley Center for ten years, and Reed, former Escondido fire chief, is a current VC resident. They signed the ballot argument penned by No on Measure B.

Schumann was one of the five originators of Measure B, which would have authorized the permitting and building of Lilac Hills Ranch, a 1,746-unit development on I-15 at the farthest western boundary of Valley Center. He was chairman of San Diegans for Housing & Jobs (aka “Yes on B.”)

Accretive (through Schumann) claimed Schumann was owed nearly $89,000 in legal fees that he claims he had to pay the Sutton Law Firm in connection with suing the five.  This refers to an earlier court action when the Accretive Group (through Schumann, who actually didn’t attend the court case), went to court in September of last year to fight the No on Measure B ballot arguments on virtually every sentence and punctuation mark.

After the judgment both sides claimed victory. The “Yes on B” people pointed out that of the 25 sentences (practically every sentence) that they challenged, the judge ordered changes in 15 of them. The “No on B” people retorted that most of the 15 changes were minuscule, and left the sentences mostly intact, although toned down.

In one instance the judge removed a sentence that claimed that Accretive had not made a legally binding agreement to build a school for a local school district. As it turns out, Accretive HAD made such an agreement with the Bonsall Unified School District, but made it AFTER the “No on Measure B” people had put the language in the ballot statement.

In another example the judge took out wording that said that the development would contribute to “gridlock,” substituting a different word.

Schumann’s lawsuit sought the award of attorney’s fees, citing (California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) section 1021: and arguing that such an award is appropriate:  “because he was the ‘successful party’ and 1) “his action ‘resulted in the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest,’ 2 “a significant benefit, whether pecuniary or nonpecuniary, has been conferred on the general public or a large class of persons;’ and ‘the necessity and financial burden of private enforcement are such as to make the award appropriate.’ ”

Our sources tell us that the defendants were able to introduce evidence that showed that Schumann was actually working for Accretive and therefore wasn’t out any legal costs.

The defendants in their legal briefs wrote that when they were being sued by Schumann they were, in effect, being sued by Accretive: “Petitioner Schumann describes himself as ‘a resident and registered elector and voter in the County of San Diego.’ First Amended Petition. However, he is also financially connected to Accretive (the developer of the Lilac Hills Ranch project) and other affiliated entities. Mr. Schumann’s resume describes his professional experience as including ‘Chairman of Special Program – Accretive Investments.’ Jackson Decl., Ex. E. Mr. Schumann and his company Wise Wealth Choices, Inc. were regularly reimbursed by the Yes on B campaign, including as campaign staff. Mr. Schumann also served as Chairman of both the petition-gathering committee and the Yes on B campaign committee.”

Despite spending $5 million compared to $172,000 for the opposition the Yes on Measure B was defeated 63.5% to 36.5%, at the polls.

One response to “Accretive lawsuit settled: no win, no foul”

  1. paul schumann says:

    i was never paid by accretive and was not collecting any money from accretive or any other company. I was a volunteer and believed in the project. accretive never paid me anything. zero! I was working for an independent signature collecting company as were many other people and not by them.

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