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    Former Huntington Beach mayor, police chief accused of having ‘hatred’ toward annual air show
    • July 12, 2023

    The former Huntington Beach mayor and police chief are accused in a lawsuit of halting the Pacific Airshow during an oil spill because of their alleged personal animosity toward the operator.

    The accusations in an updated complaint are the latest developments in an ongoing legal battle involving the air show. While the city has settled for nearly $5 million with the show’s operator, Pacific Airshow is still suing former Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr for her role in canceling the last day of the 2021 event.

    The lawsuit alleges that during a meeting on Oct. 2, 2021, to discuss the show, former Huntington Beach Police Chief Julian Harvey and Carr “expressed their personal feelings of hatred” for Pacific Airshow.

    Harvey suggested canceling the event to “screw” Pacific Airshow, and then Carr said she would do so, according to the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit alleges that Harvey’s “personal animosity” for the air show stemmed from its attempt to book rapper Ludacris for its concert accompanying the show. Harvey, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment for this story.

    The lawsuit also cites unnamed witnesses that accused Carr of being “giddy” at the prospect of using the oil spill to boost her political aspirations.

    Carr said she was shocked by the allegations made by the air show, of which Kevin Elliott, the CEO of Code Four, an event management company, is president.

    “The accusations by Kevin Elliott are completely false,” said Carr. “I find them outrageous … completely stunning.”

    Pacific Airshow sued Huntington Beach and Carr in October for losses it incurred after the third and final day of the 2021 airshow was canceled. The city’s settlement didn’t include Carr.

    Huntington Beach and Pacific Airshow agreed to a settlement that city leaders announced in May. The city agreed to pay the air show operator nearly $5 million, plus revoke some fees. Huntington Beach could pay $2 million more if the city recovers additional money through its lawsuit against Amplify Energy Corp., the company that owns the pipeline that leaked.

    The oil spill ended up being about 25,000 gallons and closed beaches and fishing along much of the Orange County coast for weeks.

    Related links

    First day of Pacific Airshow brings high-flying action above Huntington Beach
    Here’s what it looks like to fly with the planes in the Pacific Airshow
    Major oil spill closes OC beaches, kills wildlife in Huntington Beach
    A year later, the Huntington Beach oil spill still is being felt

    Suoo Lee, an attorney representing Pacific Airshow, said there should have been a public hearing held with all the interested groups to make a decision about the air show, but that wasn’t done.

    “Mayor Carr acted personally without consulting the proper agencies and other relevant parties to unilaterally make the decision to cancel the air show,” Lee said.

    Carr said the city had no choice but to cancel the last day of the air show for public safety reasons, adding that the decision to shut it down was made by a group of people, including representatives for the U.S. Coast Guard, the fire department, the police department, the Orange County Health Care Agency and more.

    “The city didn’t do anything wrong. We had an environmental crisis on our hands,” she said.

    The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages from Carr, who left the City Council last year after losing her state Senate race.

    In a 2021 interview following the air show’s cancellation, Elliott said he found out on the night of Oct. 2, 2021, about the decision. The air show was scheduled to take place Oct. 1-3.

    “I very much care about the environment. That always has to take precedence,” Elliott said then. “One of the things that makes the air show so special is our beautiful coastline, and we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to protect it.”

    There’s been much outside interest in the city’s decision to settle with the Pacific Airshow, with critics questioning why the city agreed to settle and pay up to $7 million.

    Two former city officials sued to prevent the city from paying the settlement, and another resident filed a lawsuit demanding the city release a full copy of the agreement. Both cases will appear in court later this month.

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    ​ Orange County Register