Tulare City Councilman Greg Nunley appears to have reneged on an agreement to pay more than $330,000 in development impact fees owed to the city he represents after agreeing to do so during a sworn deposition.
Nunley’s repeated promise to pay came during several hours of testimony taken as part of a civil lawsuit filed in Tulare County Superior Court. The suit accuses the sitting councilman of fraud and threatening the jobs of employees at Tulare City Hall. Video of the deposition was made public by Mike Lampe, the Visalia attorney who represents the plaintiff in the case, David Frost, a former lieutenant with the Tulare Police Department and resident of that city.
The promise by Nunley to pay the fees within 30 days was made on January 17, the date his sworn deposition was taken at Lampe’s office. According to Lampe, the city has not received payment as of February 20.
“It has been 34 days since Councilman Nunley testified, under oath, that his solely-owned company (Great Valley Builders, Inc.) would pay the development impact fees due the city,” Lampe said in a press release. “The city confirmed this morning (February 20) that it has not received payment.”
Who Owes What?
Nunley’s promise to pay development impact fees resulting from the construction of 32 duplexes occupying 16 buildings–a project known as the Oak Creek Apartments located in Tulare–came only after wrangling over the authenticity of documents provided by Tulare City Hall.
The situation unfolds during key moments of Nunley’s hours-long testimony.
While describing the various companies in which he holds interests during the first hour of his testimony, Nunley eventually confirmed he is the sole owner of Great Valley Builders, Inc. The exchange between Nunley and Lampe can be viewed beginning at the 9:52 mark of the video of the deposition.
The amount of development impact fees due is then discussed beginning at just before the 10:03 mark of the video, when Lampe presented Nunley with a copy of a fee deferral agreement that lists the amount due as $336,249. Also established at that point is ownership of the Oak Creek Apartments project by a company called Seminole 32. The impact fee deferral agreement incorrectly states a company formerly owned in part by Nunley, Driven Construction, owned the property and was responsible for paying the impact fees resulting from the project.
Nunley, however, denied that was the case. He further testified Driven Construction, because of an agreement between Nunley and his former partners, was also not responsible for paying the overdue impact fees. Instead, Nunley stated he was responsible for paying them through Great Valley Builders.
“No, I took that liability,” Nunley said.
He later reaffirmed his responsibility for the unpaid development impact fees, while still disputing the fees were now payable.
“In my mind, Great Valley Builders is going to pay those fees when they’re due,” Nunley said at a point near the 10:06 mark.
Nunley Agrees to Pay
A certificate of occupancy for the project was prepared by City Hall in October of 2017, marking that as the time the fees became due, and Lampe presented a copy of the certificate to Nunley and his attorney during the deposition. Nunley denied having seen the document prior to being presented with the copy by Lampe during his deposition on January 17. That exchanges occurs near the 10:59 a.m. timestamp.
Previously–at around the 10:42 timestamp–Nunley stated he had not paid the developer impact fees because he had never received a certificate of completion for the entire project.
The apartments are currently occupied and have been since a certificate of occupancy was issued by Tulare City Hall in autumn of 2017.
Once presented with a copy of the certificate of occupancy, Nunley maintained the document only described one of the 16 buildings his former company, Driven Construction, built. His denial came despite both the original building permit and the certificate of completion bearing the same project number.
However, he then promised, if Lampe could produce a certificate of occupancy listing all 16 buildings included in the project, to pay the $336,249 in developer impact fees within 30 days.
“What would it take for the city to convince you that these development impact fees are due?” Lampe asked.
“To change this form,” Nunley replied, referring to the October 2017 certificate of completion. “To change this form to cover all 16 buildings.”
After being asked what wording on the certificate would “be to your liking,” Nunley responded he would honor a certificate that was “the same as the building permit says.”
“And you will pay those development impact fees within 30 days of receiving the amended certificate of occupation, is that correct?” Lampe asked.
Nunley agreed. He repeated the promise to pay several times during the deposition.
The Corrected Certificate
The deposition continued into an afternoon session, and at the 13:58 timestamp, Lampe returned to subject of the unpaid development impact fees for Oak Creek Apartments. He started by reminding Nunley of his promise to pay the development fees if he were presented with a corrected certificate of completion. Lampe then presented Nunley with a newly corrected copy delivered to his office by someone from Tulare City Hall.
“Is that sufficient?” Lampe asked Nunley.
“Perfect,” Nunley replied.
Lampe then asked again if the city could expect the $336,249 within 30, and Nunley again promised to pay. JIm Wilkins, Nunley’s attorney, then questioned the authenticity of the new certificate of completion.
“Now we have a document that looks like it’s the original. How do you have the original of a document that’s dated over a year ago?” Wilkins asked.
“The city just delivered it to me,” Lampe replied.
This response prompted an outburst from an apparently agitated Nunley.
“That’s fraud,” he said.
He then demanded to know who had delivered the document.
“Who delivered the document? I think I’m entitled to know who delivered the document,” he said.
Before the exchange could continue, Nunley’s attorney requested a recess. Nunley made one final outburst, again accusing Lampe of fraud and of backdating documents.
Following a brief pause, the questioning continued, with Lampe again returning to the question of the unpaid fees.
“You testified a few minutes ago that you were satisfied that this met the requirements that you had previously indicated need to be met for you to pay the $336,249 in impact fees,” Lampe said. “Specifically, you requested that the certificate of occupancy say that it’s for buildings 1 through 16, which would be 32 units. I asked you upon receipt of Exhibit 31 (the new certificate of completion) if the city could expect to be paid within 30 days, and your response was yes. And then your attorney apparently had some issue with things, so, I’m going to ask you on the record, are you still willing to pay the $336,249 within 30 days now that you’ve been provided with Exhibit 31?”
“Yes,” Nunley answered.