KBUU NEWS Mon Mar 6 – Attorney Vows To Go After MRCA Employees Personally In Land Dispute

Written by on March 7, 2023

MRCA Trespass On West Winding Way Is Illegal, Unconstitutional, And We’re Going After The Individual Employees, Attorney Vows

More information today … on the MRCA’s seizure of private property in another Malibu neighborhood.

The Mountain Resource Conservation Authority last week sent an armed ranger and a work crew up a private road … Murphy Way … above Paradise Cove.

The workers pulled a mailbox … concrete garbage can pad … and landscaping … scraped away from a yard.

Attorney Mike Gatto represents property owners along Murphy Way … and he tells KBUU that MRCA has really screwed up here.

Government overreach …. No due process … illegal seizure. 

We asked Mike Gatto … does MRCA even have a legal trail along Murphy Way??? 

GATTO: “well Hans, they may have some very serious legal issues with respect to the validity of there is we have, and on top of that is certainly have not taken from the steps to actually build a continuous trail.  So right now they’ve got a an easement of questionable validity on a trail to nowhere.”

REPORTER: “And they did this without a hearing …. That’s pretty strange …?”

GATTO: “Yes. The strangest things about the actions: to actually go on a homeowner’s private property and start removing things, is that there’s a very strong principle in the law that when a government entity does it it does it at its peril.

“Meaning that if they are wrong for any reason, this is a constitutional violation and it’s one that subject to very serious penalties and consequences.

“Here, not only do we have questions about the validity of the easement, but as far as we know they did not seek a hearing, they did not obtain a warrant, they just marched on the private property and started removing things. And if anybody thinks that is proper, then open up your house to it, but for most people since the dawn of our constitution that principle has been something that we cherish and these actions have been deemed improper.”

REPORTER: “there is no trail right now, either across or up this road. Doesn’t that give the homeowners illegal stand or perhaps they didn’t have one down on the Winding Way East trail?”

GATTO: “it does. I the fact that there is no trail on that property gives a homeowner two claims that I think are accurate, that MRCA has violated their rights. 

“The first is that without a very solid legal foundation for this trail to begin with, with all the myriad deficiencies in the deeds, in the law, in the time it is taken, it’s very hard for MRCA to claim that they have a trail right.

“And on top of that there is no develop trail, there is no agreed-upon trail path, there is no coastal development permit for a trail path, there is not even a contiguous trail easement.

“yeah on top of all these things the MRCA is trying to claim that a few flowers in the path of an alleged trail somehow violates the Public’s rights. 

“This is an overstep, I think this is when they are going to come to regret.”

REPORTER: “so what’s the next step? What are you going to do?”

GATTO: “Well the next step is making sure that there are consequences, both for the agency and for the employees who participated in these illegal trespasses and these illegal constitutional violations. 

“There is ample case law that indicates that employees of a government agency who violate someone’s constitutional rights can be held personally liable for their right violations. 

“And here, I don’t think it’s even close, you have people traipsing on private property, physically taking the personal belongings and the fixtures belongings to a human being, and walking away with those possessions. 

“This is government overreach by just about any definition and we intend to hold those responsible accountable.”

Mike Gatto … a Los Angeles attorney who represents landowners along Murphy Way.

That is the third Malibu neighborhood to be taken over by government agents working for the MRCA. 

Ramirez Canyon and Escondido Canyon landowners have also found their personal property to have been taken over by the MRCA.

Some homeowners in Escondido Canyon have been fined in the hundreds ion thousands of dollars by the MRCA.

We’ve asked the MRCA for comment …. but as usual … they will not talk to reporters from Malibu. 

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