March 3rd, 2017


I note with great interest that the current acting City Attorney is a high-priced attorney from the firm of Meyer Naves. In an article in the Modesto bee on October 17, 2013, then City Manager Greg Nyhoff was given the authority to negotiate and enter into an agreement with Meyer Naves to appoint Adam Lindgren as “interim” City Attorney.  This occurred after the resignation of then City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood on November 15th 2013.

This interim appointment is heading towards four years.



Myer Naves is a large law firm with five offices spanning the state from Sacramento to San Diego.  They specialize in extremely large cases such as the $477 million downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings.  What they are doing as an outsourced City Attorney is beyond me.

Worse still, the city of Modesto was already paying out big bucks to Meyer Naves years before one of their attorneys, Adam Lindgren (from the Sacramento office), managed to slither into the City Attorney’s office.

Why would the city of Modesto go outside of the area to a high-priced law firm? What is wrong with seeking qualified candidates from within the Central Valley who are more familiar with the culture, environment and contacts locally?

Interim City Attorney Adam Lingren is also the City Attorney for Rancho Cordova and acts a special counsel to Sacramento, Livingston, Monterey, and other districts and agencies such as the San Bernardino Associated Governments and geologic hazard abatement districts (GHADs) for Fallon Village and Schafer Ranch.

Hopefully, Adam Lingren will have no issues with Village 1 and Village 2 (no Tivoli).

Adam Lingren also represents private parties on complex land use matters.

Modesto is the 18th largest City in California representing 211,266 citizens.  Smaller cities may be able to make due with an outsourced, out of town City Attorney, however the complex needs of Modesto require a full-time, available and committed City Attorney.

Big bucks law firms have no firsthand knowledge of the workings of a City like Modesto. There are many questions to be answered regarding the City using an attorney from 90 miles away. Isn’t there enough talent within the central Valley to advertise for a city attorney that would live in a direct proximity to the city that he would represent?

I did a brief survey of California cities that have populations very similar to Modesto. In those cities they have a city attorney that represents only their city.

Oxnard California           Population 207,000      city attorney salary   $136,400

Moreno Valley                     204,700     “                  “              “                 $129,600

San Bernardino                    216,000                         “             “                 $168,000

Questions the need to be answered by the city of Modesto:

  1. What city does Adam Lindgren live in?
  2. How many days a week is he in the city attorney’s office here in Modesto?
  3. Does he act as city attorney for any other cities in California?
  4. What is his salary paid by the city of Modesto?
  5. Does he get travel expenses for coming to Modesto?

These are just a few of the questions that need answered in this opening salvo of obtaining information to see how many taxpayers dollars are being wasted by an out-of-town high-priced attorney.

There are other questions that have not been answered regarding the firm of Meyer’s Nave. Why were they retained to defend the city when Mayor Sabatino sued the city for using taxpayer’s funds to support measures I & J?

How much money would be paid? How much money did they bill the city? How much money did they end up with?

So many questions, so few answers!

FOIA requests will be submitted to obtain answers to questions that may help save the taxpayers of Modesto thousands of dollars.

Much more to follow!