Judge rules to allow sale of 24 state buildings
A San Francisco judge issued a preliminary ruling Friday that would allow the sale of 24 state buildings, including the Ronald Reagan State building in downtown Los Angeles, to go forward.
Superior Court Judge Charlotte Woolard denied a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the sale, which is scheduled to close escrow on Wednesday. The judge’s ruling is expected to be appealed.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office has said the sale would provide needed revenue to help fill the state’s yawning budget deficit.
But opponents who filed a lawsuit to block the deal called it a waste of taxpayer money, noting that the state would be obligated to lease back the buildings. They said the deal would end up costing taxpayers more over the long term than it would to keep the buildings.
The judge said that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case.
The state is selling the buildings to California First LLC, a consortium of investors led by a Texas real estate firm and a private equity firm based in Irvine. The governor’s office has said the sale would provide $1.2 billion to help shrink the budget deficit and save California $2 million over 20 years.
The buildings that would be sold include the Earl Warren Building in San Francisco, home to the California Supreme Court and the 1st District Court of Appeal.
-- Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco