Supervisor Mark Farrell's lawsuit to overturn his $191,000 ethics fine will be heard in court next week. (Kevin Kelleher/2015 Special to S.F. Examiner)

Supervisor Mark Farrell's lawsuit to overturn his $191,000 ethics fine will be heard in court next week. (Kevin Kelleher/2015 Special to S.F. Examiner)

Court hearing on Farrell’s lawsuit over $191K ethics fine postponed

The first legal arguments in Supervisor Mark Farrell’s lawsuit to overturn his $191,000 ethics fine were postponed Thursday until next week.

City Attorney’s Office spokesperson Matt Dorsey said he couldn’t comment about the reason for the delay. A motion filed with the court noted Farrell’s attorney Jim Sutton and the City Attorney’s Office agreed to the postponement. A representative at Sutton’s law firm said the date was moved up because the judge was on vacation.

Farrell sued The City in May to overturn the Ethics Commission $191,000 fine levied against him in December 2014.

The fine was based on a determination by the Fair Political Practices Commission that Farrell’s campaign manager illegally coordinated with an independent political committee, Common Sense Voters, spending some $191,000 in the month of October 2010 on political “hit pieces” against progressive challenger Janet Reilly during Farrell’s 2010 election to the Board of Supervisors.

The state commission didn’t find that Farrell committed any wrongdoing, but the Ethics Commission argued that under local law Farrell is liable. At issue is also whether the four-year statute of limitations applies, which would prevent The City from fining Farrell even if it was justified under the law.

On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn was scheduled to hear arguments in the case for the first time, specifically over a motion filed by Sutton to strike The City’s cross-complaint.

The case will now be heard Tuesday.
Board of SupervisorsCity Attorney’s OfficeCity HallEthics CommissionPoliticsSupervisor Mark Farrell

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