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Alamitos mum on beef suit reaction

February 12, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — With a hearing set for Friday to determine whether a lawsuit against the beef-processing plant in this city moves forward, a new defendant in the case declined to discuss the matter this morning.

Alamitos Land Co., which owned the property upon which the beef plant is being built, has been named as a defendant by Darwin Cohee, who is pursuing court action to block the project.

Alamitos sold the 100 acres upon which the beef plant is being built to B.P. Ventures, the company that would operate the plant.

This morning an official with Le Plastrier, an Irvine-based development consulting firm that represents Alamitos, declined to speak in detail about any actions Alamitos is taking to defend itself.


The official said only that Alamitos has general counsel in place to defend itself and the counsel is looking into the matter.

A hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Friday in the County Courthouse in El Centro following an action filed by B.P. Ventures to bring an early end to Cohee's lawsuit.

B.P. Ventures filed a demurrer in which it is arguing Cohee failed to name B.P. Ventures as a defendant in his initial filings.

B.P. Ventures is arguing while its name has been added to the lawsuit, it was added too late based on the statute of limitations.

If the court rules against the demurrer, Cohee's lawsuit will move toward a hearing on the merits of his case.

However, that Alamitos has been added to Cohee's lawsuit could add another wrinkle.

When asked if Alamitos might seek its own legal action against Cohee's lawsuit, the Le Plastrier officials declined comment.

The land upon which the beef plant is being built is part of 500 acres recently annexed into Brawley in the eastern section of the city near Shank Road.

Alamitos, which owns the annexed land minus the 100 acres sold to B.P. Ventures, sought the annexation to lead to a series of commercial, industrial and housing developments on the property. The annexed land is known as Luckey Ranch.

An attorney for Cohee, who owns a soil-reclamation business on Shank Road near the beef plant, was unavailable for comment this morning.

Cohee filed his lawsuit after the Brawley City Council opted to support a permit that allowed work on the beef plant to start.

Cohee has argued traffic brought by the beef plant could hurt his business. He said the city failed to consider his concerns about traffic studies done for the beef plant and for the Alamitos annexation.

The beef plant will create some 600 full-time jobs initially. Cohee has said such traffic would necessitate improvements to Shank. City officials have said the 600 jobs would not create a need for upgrades to Shank.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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