Three months after a Riverside County Superior Court Judge tossed out a lawsuit alleging “illegal” money is being used to build CV Link, a 50-mile multi-modal pathway across the Coachella Valley for pedestrians, cyclists and low-speed electric vehicles such as golf carts, a Palm Desert attorney, and longtime critic of the project, quietly filed an appeal.
Jim Ferguson, a Palm Desert attorney, who filed the initial lawsuit in October, filed the appeal on June 5, Uken Report has learned.
The leadership of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) says the appeal may have no validity.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge James Latting in March dismissed the lawsuit challenging the CV Link project. He sustained the arguments raised by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, (CVAG), the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Riverside County Transportation Commission
Ferguson’s lawsuit challenged three sources of funding for CV Link. They were rebutted by a comprehensive legal opinion that CVAG obtained. The ruling was a blow to both Ferguson and former Mayor G. Dana Hobart who wholeheartedly supported Ferguson’s effort.
Ferguson, a former member of the Palm Desert City Council, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence last month, according to Riverside County jail records. He is scheduled for a court appearance in August.
Meantime, Ferguson has declined to comment on his appeal.
One of the most vocal supporters of CV Link has been Indio Mayor Michael Wilson. He was the first to brand Ferguson’s lawsuit a joke. Wilson, who has served the city for 21 years, called the lawsuit, which was filed Oct. 13, “frivolous with a capital ‘F.’ ”
Wilson last week was named chairman of CVAG’s Executive Committee. One of his goals is to restore the organization back to the cohesive agency it once was before all the animosity centered on CV Link.
“Though Jim Ferguson claims he appealed the decision, there is a dispute in his timely appeal,” Wilson told Uken Report. “It will take about a month to sort out through the process but according to our legal counsel we stand on very solid ground that the appeal will ultimately fail as time had run its course before the filing. You may recall, Mr. Ferguson was busy taking care of his own serious legal issues while the time to appeal was running.”
The first 2.3 miles of CV Link, between Vista Chino Road in Palm Springs and Ramon Road in Cathedral City, officially opened on Feb. 23 and is already well-used for active transportation and golf carts alike. The next segment, near Demuth Park in Palm Springs, is expected to be under construction this summer.
CVAG earlier this year announced additional funding for the project, which now has about $100 million secured.