Tag Archives: Walnut City Attorney Michael Montgomery

Walnut: Council Corner 10.22.14


Walnut – The Council chambers of Walnut City Hall was packed to near capacity on Wed., Oct. 22, with the City Council meeting to discuss the controversial topic of Michael Montgomery’s ongoing contract as City Attorney.


The City Council commends the chairs for the Walnut Family Festival for providing the City with another amazing event. (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

To start off the meeting, the council members thanked the chairs of the Walnut Family Festival for their months of service to bring the City its biggest event of the year.

“It was lots of fun and it was a beautiful day,” Mayor Nancy Tragarz said. “It’s because of all of your long, hard work…we appreciate all the work you do.”

Following the presentation, public comment was opened to a mix of complaints and affirmations about Tragarz and her mission to terminate Montgomery’s contract with the city.

Claims against Tragarz grew nasty in several cases, including a 34-page packet of documents, made by persons unknown, and claiming that Tragarz was misleading the Walnut residents about Montgomery’s contracts and past missteps.

Walnut resident, Phil Bennett, spoke during the public comments, claiming that Tragarz was attempting to fire Montgomery in order to take his job as City Attorney.


Mayor Tragarz lists off items against City Attorney Michael Montgomery during the Oct. 22 City Council meeting, citing him as a liability to the residents of Walnut. Despite the laundry list of complaints and malfeasances, Montgomery’s contract was affirmed with amendments about obtaining liability insurance. (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

Tragarz shot back that she had no interest in becoming City Attorney, and that she was going to start working at an unnamed law firm in November.

The Council then approved the minutes for the Aug. 27 study session, Sept. 24 City Council meeting, and public hearing Item No. 4, provisions for employee housing ordinance.

The Council also approved to bring back a zoning change for the Walnut Esplanade specific plan after further discussion.

For the Consent Calendar, the Council approved a resolution for the authorization for the City Manager to enter into contract with Morse Planning Group to prepare an environmental impact report for the proposed Brookside Specific Plan, and an item concerning the Mount San Antonio College parking structure, with Council Member Mary Su stating that residents should voice their concerns to the college in opposition.

Item No. 5, for claims and demands in the amount of $1,021,209.48, was pulled to be discussed during the meeting’s Item No. 8 section when considering Montgomery’s contract dispute, and later approved in its entirety.

What followed was Tragarz outlining the many disputes she had with Montgomery being paid under a defunct law firm, not having malpractice insurance and misleading the council members on certain matters.

Past lawsuits concerning a failed Zen Center and $1 million settlement, and a recent ongoing lawsuit between Walnut and Standard Pacific Homes were some of the ammunition given by Tragarz, stating that Montgomery has been known to give poor legal advice that has harmed the City and its taxpayers.

Tragarz even accused Montgomery of leaking footage from a closed session meeting to a member of the press, calling to light his ethics.

Councilmember Bob Pacheco said Montgomery’s contract was ratified when she (Tragarz) and other members of the Walnut Improvement Agency approved Montgomery’s contract several years ago.

Additionally, Pacheco recited the 32-page packet of documents entitled the “Clarification of Fabricated Lies Regarding Michael Montgomery, City Attorney.”

Talks dragged on for more than four hours, with bickering between council members and the City Attorney, leading Mayor Pro Tem, Eric Ching, to push a request for proposal, to open up the position of City Attorney to others.

The motion failed, leading the Council to approve a new contract for Montgomery with amendments concerning the liability insurance. The affirmation was approved on a 3-2 vote.

The City Council meeting adjourned with plans to meet again Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., in the City Council chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.