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    Judge denies two emergency requests related to Huntington Beach air show settlement
    • June 30, 2023

    A state judge on Friday, June 30, denied two emergency requests related to Huntington Beach’s near $5 million settlement with the operator of its annual air show over cancelling a day because of an oil spill – one sought to prevent the city from paying out the settlement and the other to require the city to release a full copy of the agreement.

    City Attorney Michael Gates said Friday that Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Strickroth denied both emergency requests. A full hearing for the two cases is scheduled for July 17 before Judge Martha Gooding.

    The settlement between the city and Pacific Airshow LLC was announced in May, with the city agreeing to pay the air show operator nearly $5 million. 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 in 2021, forcing the cancellation of the last day of the air show. 

    Gates said he was happy with Friday’s outcome.

    “I think Judge Strickroth got it right. There’s absolutely no urgency on any of this,” Gates said.

    Former Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman and former Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby filed the lawsuit to block the settlement. Huntington Beach resident and former City Council candidate Gina Clayton-Tarvin filed a separate lawsuit to get a copy of the air show settlement that Gates has refused to release.

    “His dismissal of the demands by Clayton-Tarvin, Boardman and Bixby speaks to the merits of their claims. If their claims were compelling, the judge’s ruling might have been different,” Gates said.

    The city has already budgeted the first settlement payment of $1.9 million that could be sent as early as July 1, Gates said. According to a summary of the settlement agreement, Pacific Airshow LLC must be paid that first installment by the end of July. If a judge rules against the city, Gates said any payment made could be retrieved.

    Boardman and Bixby’s attorney Lee Fink said Friday that he remains hopeful going into the hearing on July 17 because the judge did not throw out their case.

    “So the fact he’s put it over is a telltale sign that our application is good,” Fink said. 

    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

    ​ Orange County Register