Cable Tells Upland Inflexibility On Stale Liens Will End In Lawsuit

(April 12) Bob Cable, the owner of Cable Airport in Upland, on April 8 sternly warned the Upland City Council that he is on a collision course with the city over city staff’s unwillingness to remove a long dormant lien against his property.
“We are possibly going to litigation on that,” Cable said. “I bet you don’t know. I’m here to tell you now. Upland touts itself as a business friendly city. I do not see it from where I sit. I have been working for six months to get two liens that are more than 35 years old removed. Hopefully you will end this foolishness before it costs the city a lot of money.”
Cable later explained to the Sentinel, “We are refinancing some construction loans on hangers. Wells Fargo was doing some in-depth title research and came across two liens and an operating agreement, all three of which are over 35 years old. The operating agreement gave the city the right to run the airport if we ever failed to do so. We have consistently kept the airport operating and that agreement has been removed. One of the liens was for streetlights, sidewalks and trees along Benson Avenue near the entrance to the airport. The streetlights and sidewalks were put in long ago and the trees cannot be placed there because of how close it is to being beneath the flight path and the city has given us word that it will release that lien. The other lien applies to where decades ago we built a row of hangars within six feet of the property line and the lien called for the construction of an 800 foot-long block wall there as a separation. The lien called for it to be reviewed every five years. The block wall was never constructed and the city never said anything until we brought it up. Now the city wants us to indemnify them forever. My position is that I didn’t keep up with the terms and the city did not keep up with the terms, so neither of us should be responsible and the lien itself should be null and void. Those liens are so old they should be thrown out. Nobody kept them up for 35 years, so why is it a big deal now? I want this to go away and I made every effort to inform the city of the situation and come to a reasonable resolution. The first two issues are taken care of but when we came to the second lien, the city attorney’s attitude is ‘We’ll see you in court.”
Part of the problem, Cable said, is that the city’s paramount decision making body, the city council, “doesn’t know what is going on.”
Cable continued, “Typically city staff are the only ones who know what the situation is until the day of the council meeting or just a few days before, when the council gets the staff report. And the council almost always goes with the recommendation in the staff report. Then, if that decision is to become litigious, it becomes a closed session item from there on and they remain isolated from the information they need to make an informed decision. I went there on Monday because I was pretty sure that the council at that point had no clue as to what is going on and it looks that once again they are going to end up in a situation they do not need to be in where they spend tens of thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.”
The problem is exacerbated, Cable said, by the city having a new city attorney who is not fully acclimated to the city, does not have a full grasp of the situation or the city’s history and is seeking to establish her place in the municipal pecking order while simultaneously generating billable hours for her law firm.
“I don’t want to get into a lawsuit,” Cable said. “I don’t think the city wants to get into a lawsuit. Those liens are so old and neglected, I think the court will just throw them out. I’m not going to back down. I went directly before the city council because they are the ones that make the ultimate decision. We’ll see in two weeks if they make the right decision and keep the city out of a lawsuit.”
Attempts to reach Upland City Manager Stephen Dunn for  comment were unsuccessful.

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