The lawyers are out in force at Millennium Tower, and if any more of them pile on they could well tip the already leaning building over.
In the latest bid, building residents Pat and Jerry Dodson filed a complaint against several parties, including Millennium Partners and its alter ego, Mission Street Development; the Transbay Joint Powers Association (which oversees construction of the Transbay Transit Center next door); the building’s homeowner’s association; and the Department of Building Inspection.
It’s an “all of the above” claim according to the SF Business Times, a suit which also names the relevant lawyers for all parties, including the City Attorney.
The complaint: building homeowners (note that Jerry Dodson is both a party to the suit and the plaintiff’s attorney), who theoretically should have been the first to know about the tower’s problems, were instead some of the last, receiving official disclosure only in May, a few months before the news went public.
According to Dodson, the city, the developer, and the development next door all knew about the structure’s problems years in advance but said nothing.
Interestingly, TJPA does admit that it knew all about the building’s settlement problems as early as 2009, but also claims that it couldn’t legally disclose and that responsibility lay with Millennium Partners to warn homeowners and/or the public once they tipped the developer off.
Millennium Partners also acknowledged, during a press conference earlier in the year, that it was studying the building’s movements long before it spoke up.
When asked why they didn’t speak up sooner, the developer’s answer was a little muddled, claiming that they were still studying the building’s deeply problematic issues at the time.
At a City Hall grilling in September, it became apparent that the Department of Building Inspection definitely got wind of the building’s troubles years ago too. Their excuse for not acting right away and disclosing the issues: everyone forgot.
Note that none of the above necessarily proves the Dodson’s allegations of conspiracy: According to the suit, the real reason nobody said anything is because all of them had too much to lose.
As it stands, the city is itself suing Millennium Partners. And there’s a separate suit by different building residents against Millennium Partners and Transbay.
And although the building’s homeowners’ association has yet to sue anyone, they told Curbed SF that they reserve the right to bring action against the developer, the city, Transbay, and possibly even the construction company, Webcor.