The true character of “Liberate Laguna” and its mega-developer members continues to be revealed. Recently, a complaint was filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and two lawsuits were launched alleging fraud and misrepresentations on the part of the Shopoff companies and its owners who are key players in Liberate Laguna. One of the lawsuits seeks a $31-million-dollar recovery for misappropriation of investor’s funds.
Liberate Laguna is a developer-controlled Political Action Committee (PAC) that has been attacking many Laguna Beach institutions. They spent over $150,000 to elect their approved candidate for City Council (Peter Blake). According to the public record, the Shopoff’s contributed about 44 percent of the money and resources spent by the PAC to support Blake.
They are now aggressively attacking the integrity of the Design Review Board and seem to be trying to replace experienced and competent members with development-friendly candidates.
They have led a smear campaign against Village Laguna, a community organization that has been working hard to protect and enhance Laguna’s village character since 1971. For example, they have attacked Village Laguna’s Annual Charm House Tour (May 19) that invites people to explore five exceptional examples of historic Laguna Beach homes.
The more we learn about Liberate Laguna and its backers, the more vigilant we all must be about its activities in Laguna Beach. Our Village is under tremendous pressure from these mega-developers eager to change the character of our town for their own financial benefit. We can, by acting in concert and participating in Village affairs, stop this effort to degrade our town for private financial gain. Laguna Beach is a special place and worth fighting for! I suggest you attend the May 19 Charm House Tour to experience up close what we love about our Laguna.
Armando Baez, Laguna Beach