Cory Briggs has created an elaborate network of more than 40 nonprofit shell corporations he uses to sue taxpayers and make a fortune for himself.
These shady organizations all have similar names and most are registered by Briggs’ law firm. They don’t ask people to join or volunteer. All they do is sue. And make Briggs rich.
Does that sound like the legitimate nonprofit groups you know? These aren’t real neighborhood groups taking action to protect their quality of life. These are shadowy front groups set up for one purpose: to make money for Cory Briggs.
How does Briggs’ scam work? According to a Voice of San Diego investigation, if Briggs loses, the community group pays him nothing. If he wins or agrees to settle out of court, he gets attorney’s fees paid for by the taxpayers.
In San Diego alone, Briggs has sued the city 87 times.
Judges can be tough on legal misconduct, but we’ve rarely seen a court use the harsh language directed at Briggs’ “unethical and possibly criminal” tactics in 2016.
The Superior Court said it was “greatly concerned” about Briggs’ “litigation misconduct,” as “at best, an ethical lapse and at worst, criminal behavior.” The 4th District Court of Appeal agreed with that, writing “In light of this clearly unethical and possibly criminal conduct, we expect some explanation of Briggs Law Corporation’s actions. BLC provides none.”
Briggs filed a lawsuit against the City in the name of a nonprofit corporation that was suspended by the state Franchise Tax Board, and therefore couldn’t legally sue anyone. Briggs knew better – because he’s the guy who actually runs this front group – but he sued anyway.
The Appeals Court refused to award Briggs attorney’s fees for the time that the corporation was suspended, saying:
“We determine that attorney fees cannot be awarded to a party whose attorney violates the law to appear in the action and offers no justification whatsoever for his or her conduct. To require taxpayers to compensate a party or a law firm for unethical, unprofessional, or even illegal conduct, under the guise that the litigant is protecting the public interest, would turn the private attorney general statute on its head.”
Briggs later convinced the court to remove “illegal” from its statement sanctioning Briggs for his behavior.
(Court of Appeal opinion, filed September 22, 2016)
Briggs’ sham lawsuits end up costing taxpayers millions – his scheme isn’t to win the case, it’s simply to make the city pay him to go way.
Here’s how Cory’s costly con works: he sues on an important city project, blocks the funding and approvals, and then drops his lawsuit when a city pays him to go away.
Cory’s gotten rich off this scam by filing dozens of needless lawsuits against the City of San Diego. He’s blocked funding for fire stations and tried to stop a homeless shelter from opening. And he’s made a fortune doing it.
Here’s just one example of Briggs trying to stop progress in San Diego. In 2014, Briggs sued the City against the use of standard revenue bonds to fix up San Diego’s aging infrastructure. Projects slated to be completed that Cory attempted to block:
Who doesn’t love a tot lot, or a fire station, or a library? Briggs took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, losing every step of the way, but his willingness to hold hostage projects that protect and help San Diego families speaks to his skewed priorities.
“Instead of helping me, he put me in the ground.”
That’s what Gonzalo Arteaga, a working man and father of four, said about Cory Briggs, after Briggs seized his home and threw his family out on the street at the height of the Great Recession.
Arteaga had hired Briggs to try and save his home in a mortgage fraud case. Instead, Briggs forced the Arteaga family into bankruptcy and led them to lose their house.
As if that wasn’t enough, Briggs then lured Arteaga into buying a new house with a personal loan from Briggs, but when times got tough and the family fell behind, Briggs seized the house back and threw the family with four young kids onto the streets buried in debt.
A Law Professor who later reviewed the case, said ‘Briggs took advantage of their desperation and lack of understanding.’ And that Briggs committed a ‘serious attorney ethics violation’.
Since dropping off the keys with Briggs, the Arteagas have never heard from him again.
Cory Briggs brands himself as a taxpayer advocate, a reputation built on years of filing lawsuits against public agencies over taxes and environmental laws.
SAN DIEGO — The two people challenging San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott’s re-election bid have tried to make the race a referendum on Elliott’s first three years in office.
SAN DIEGO — Gun control legislation has become a hot topic in the race for San Diego city attorney, with challenger Cory Briggs criticizing incumbent Mara Elliott for spearheading the city’s new law requiring safe storage of firearms.
The California Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging inewsource’s lease with San Diego State University, bringing to a close a four-year legal battle that inewsource’s editor contends was in retaliation for its investigations of attorney Cory Briggs, now running for San Diego City Attorney.
JULIAN — Supporters of San Diego County’s last volunteer fire department appear to have exhausted all legal options to fend off a takeover of the agency that has protected the popular tourist destination for nearly 40 years.
Massive projects are moving ahead along San Diego’s waterfront from Seaport Village through Lane Field and all the way to Harbor Island. Yet these changes are not part of a cohesive plan for the sort of world-class waterfront that distinguishes other cities. Instead, they’re piecemeal projects that many civic leaders and activists say illustrate San Diego’s overall approach toward development. With so much at stake along the waterfront, inewsource zeroed in on one particular stretch of land to find out how it developed and what lessons might be learned. [/box][/one_third]
San Diego environmental attorney Cory Briggs, dressed in a suit and tie, stood before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in February to argue against one of the most potentially transformative and divisive development projects in the city’s history — a proposed 12-acre property along the downtown waterfront.
There is a term known in legal circles as “SLAPP.” It stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” and it generally refers to a lawsuit filed against an organization or individual who has deigned to oppose someone else on an issue of public interest. Think revenge, or harassment.
Over the last decade, Cory Briggs has become a prominent figure in San Diego. His lawsuits against cities and developers, mainly over environmental issues, are polarizing: environmentalists champion his efforts and believe he is working for the public good, while his critics, including government agencies and developers, believe he brings boilerplate lawsuits to line his own pockets at the taxpayer’s expense.
Cory Briggs is an environmental lawyer in San Diego. He’s known as a champion of the little guy, taking governments and developers to court. He’s an advocate for transparency and accountability. During the past nine months, inewsource has investigated real estate transactions, business practices and conflicts of interest involving Briggs that counter that reputation.
When attorney Cory Briggs tripped up San Diego’s long-planned convention center expansion this month with a lawsuit over tax policy, he was following a well-trod career path that has delayed and reshaped developments across the region.
Cory Briggs, the attorney who helped end the political career of Bob Filner, wants to stop a lot of other things in San Diego, too.
SAN DIEGO — The city has run into a roadblock in its effort to address massive infrastructure needs, putting a planned $120 million bond issue this year on hold because of the threat of litigation.
What neither Sanders nor Manchester knew was that Cory Briggs, attorney for the appellants, had sent this settlement offer to Malinda Dickenson, the City Attorney handling the case, on October 2, 2007. It was an offer the City could hardly refuse. (I did NOT get my copy of the email from ANY of the attorneys involved, but it IS genuine.)
On behalf of the San Diego Navy Broadway Complex Coalition, I am writing to convey a
Friday, Jan. 5, 2007 | Activists filed a suit against the Department of Defense and its handpicked builder of the Navy Broadway Complex on Thursday, alleging the development partners breached federal regulations by failing to more carefully examine the project’s impacts on its nearby surroundings and allow the public to provide input.