San Juan Capistrano Holds Back Documents

The city of San Juan Capistrano continues to hold back key information relating to its attempt to buy two adjacent properties where a new city hall might have gone.

The city’s secrecy regarding this deal has irked Mayor Londres Uso, who complained last month about his colleagues doing too much of the public’s business in the dark.

I filed a California Public Records Act request after hearing Uso’s complaints. The case in question was the city’s negotiations for two buildings at the end of Valle Road, which the city was looking at as a new city hall site. I specifically requested all communications between the city and the owner of the properties, Pacific Western Bank.

Yesterday, the city provided me with records to review. Yet the file contained no communications from the bank – no call logs, faxes, or even emails.

I was told by the city clerk’s office that City Attorney Omar Sandoval pulled “a couple of items” due to attorney-client privilege. The city attorney was not available to give me a summary of what he pulled and why, as he was in a closed doors meeting.

The file given to me said nothing about the squashing of the deal, except that in open session council members voiced concern over “solar usage, further design, possible water intrusion and soil subsidence.”

I will be following up with the city attorney to see if he pulled communication records and information related to the dropped deal.I’m also going to give Uso a call and see what he thinks.

If you have any insight into this deal, or any suggestions, please email me at



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