The Western Growers Association named Thomas A. Nassif as its new president and chief executive officer.
Nassif is known in the Imperial Valley as an agriculture labor lawyer who represented local growers. But Nassif is perhaps more infamous to Valley residents as the principal partner for the Los Alamos Land company, which sued the county last year in a dispute over the Gateway to the Americas industrial development.
The Gateway project, funded by multiple landowners and county loans, hopes to attract industry to the former farm land near the Calexico East Port of Entry. The project could create thousands of jobs.
The lawsuit was settled in May. Los Alamos filed for bankruptcy protection in October.
Before becoming involved in the Gateway development, Nassif practiced law until 1981, when he left his practice to join the Reagan administration. He served under Reagan as the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, assistant to White House chief of protocol and deputy assistant Secretary of State.