Gosnell's people clearly believe the latter.

Ric Williams, president of Gosnell Builders, says it should have been clear from the beginning that Hayenga wasn't entitled to residential units.

"Ms. Hayenga was clearly wrong and failed to adequately research the entitlements and/or received very bad advice from her attorneys and land use people," Williams said in a written statement. "Justice was served with her misstep and the actions of her team of contingency lawyers; hopefully, she will confront reality and drop her misguided legal attack on our city."

The condominiums that Hayenga eventually developed.
Jamie Peachey
The condominiums that Hayenga eventually developed.
Peggy Bilsten
Peggy Bilsten

But Beus Gilbert disputes that. And at least one city official sees things much differently.

Peggy Bilsten was the councilwoman representing the Tapatio area through the 1990s. In fact, Bilsten happened to be present at the meeting in 2000 when city planners suddenly revealed that Hayenga didn't have 120 units after all.

Hayenga had hoped to call Bilsten in for a deposition. But the city's lawyers at Gust Rosenfeld claimed that the former councilwoman wasn't amenable to being called.

As it turns out, the city was playing hardball — dishonest hardball at that. Bilsten would have none of it.

Without even consulting a lawyer, Bilsten wrote up a notarized statement last November and gave it to Hayenga's lawyers.

"I am more than happy to give my deposition," Bilsten wrote. In fact, Bilsten explained, she was writing her statement because she was terribly concerned that she'd have to leave for an international trip before she'd have a chance to be deposed.

As Bilsten explained, she'd been told during meetings in 2000 that Hayenga didn't have units at her disposal. After reading the testimony of city planners Richert and Muenker, Bilsten became convinced that they'd concealed the truth.

"At no time during the meeting held in 2000 was I ever informed that the 120 dwelling units were illegally allocated by the city in October of 1995," she wrote. "Furthermore, I was never told that the city could have taken action to give property rights back to Ms. Hayenga, or I would have insisted that we do that.

"We have a responsibility as trusted public servants to do what is right and honorable."

And that wasn't all. Bilsten wrote that she had concerns about how the city had allocated those units back in 1995, the ones that ended up being taken from Hayenga. If the neighbors had really been properly notified that more density was being added, they surely would have been angry. (Just look what happened when Hayenga asked for a rezoning.) Why was no one even aware that a rezoning had taken place?

Bilsten was concerned that the city failed to post the change properly, and that the neighbors weren't notified, as required by law.

She called it a "cover-up."

"My heart is heavy as I am writing this statement, because I believe the role of public servants is to serve with integrity and honesty," she wrote. "According to the sworn statements enclosed, this was clearly not the case."

Indeed, maybe a good lawyer should have discovered why there were no units left, as Gosnell avers. But Hayenga was a Phoenix resident seeking information, in multiple meetings with the city, about property: Should it have really taken a lawyer to get to the bottom line?

Why, when Hayenga went to City Hall three times before buying the property, did the city fail to explain that there was a zoning cap that could affect her development rights?

And why, once city planners realized that there were no units left, didn't they simply explain where the units had gone? They could have told Hayenga that they'd allowed someone else to build a bunch of apartments and that subsequently, to keep the cap intact, no one else could build.

That would certainly have been preferable to making her hire lawyers and wade through years of litigation.

"I suspect the lawyers at Beus Gilbert didn't know enough about the case to ask the right questions," says Leonard, Hayenga's new attorney. "But the city certainly wasn't volunteering anything."

The city declined comment, citing the pending litigation.


To anyone's who been following the case, the question is whether the city is conspiring against Miriam Hayenga or it's merely incompetent.

Last year, something curious happened, something that suggests the latter — that city staffers really have no idea what's going on at the Pointe Tapatio.

Just to recap. First, the city told Hayenga there were 120 units available. Three years later, it turned out that there were only 12 — it'd given the others to another developer. Ultimately, Hayenga was forced to get a zoning change just to get enough units added to build condos.

Guess what the city is saying now?

You won't believe this: There are still units left.

Last year, a developer named Joe Meza wrote to the city, inquiring about how many units were available on a hilly piece of the Tapatio Cliffs development that he'd just purchased.

The city told Meza that there were 12 units.

Hayenga and her lawyer were stunned. If there were still units available, why had she been forced to go through a rezoning?

To get answers, they summoned the Phoenix planner who'd written the letter on behalf of the city, Elizabeth DeMichael. Under oath, DeMichael explained that, yes, the Meza parcel still had units.

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8 comments
TImothy
TImothy

The city of phoenix developmental services, WHAT A JOKE. No wonder why they are broke. Their left had don't know what their right hand is doing. Everyone of them has a different answer for you and they wiegh everything on whether you are someone everyone likes. If not, good luck.

Thomas Coletto
Thomas Coletto

To the Greater Phoenix Community,

I have come to truly realize that what I was doing for those two months was so terribly wrong. I can't begin to know where to start, but I will try.

After my best friend died of causes which are still unknown, I have had a void in my heart. Nothing in my life was more painful then loosing him, and I think apart of myself died with him.

I will not release his name, because I have already destroyed my name, my families name, my mother, my father, and my grandfather's name. I can only wonder if they will ever truly forgive me for what I have done, and who I associated with.

I associated with true evil, I know this because a member of the NSM Las Vegas Unit, is a self-proclaimed satanist, as is Scott Hume, leader of the Arizona National Socialist Movement.

He has a satanic symbol tattooed on his upper back, the 5 pointed star with a goat head. Why am I telling you this? Because I realized through my own research, how associating with these people was the most damning decision I could have ever made.

I am an Atheist, I chose not to believe in god for my own reasons. Scott tried to push satanism on me, many nights, we would talk over yahoo messenger, and he would ask me to accept a Nazi demon, it was just insane. And he would push it on me. Just as he did to join the NSM. Satan is true evil, and I fell into his trap.

I was indeed influenced, stupid, and I allowed myself to be brainwashed, by people who seemed, so kind, and honest, and true at heart. But I was wrong. I always wondered if they knew I was 1/8th Native American. Would they still have accepted me?

I realized that jewish people, are indeed people, each of us, all of us, including myself have shades of gray. And there are people who are evil. I can't begin to forgive myself for what I did. But I know that the jews were exterminated. I know it because my Grandfather liberated a death camp in WW2. He was in the 26th ID 328th Infantry Regiment. He rarely spoke of WW2 at all, but I remember him telling me that evil people in the war tried to kill an entire people for their belief in god.

I find it hard to look at myself in the mirror, go outside, show my face. I never hated anyone, regardless of my stances on Illegal Immigration. This is fact: I used to HATE Arpaio, because he violates the constitution which I so strongly stand to protect, EVERY day he violates it.

I was not allowed to vote because of my felony, luckily it goes away, once my sentence is up. I tried to VOTE in November, and I did. My name was not removed up until a few months ago. This is the truth, and I was SO proud I even took a cell phone picture.

I voted for Obama, who I now disagree with on most issues, I just never liked McCain. I was a Ron Paul guy.

But I remember the feeling that night, when he won. I felt so proud, because of what happened. History unfolded before my eyes. I voted for, and witnessed history before my eyes, and I was so proud, I remember the warmth I felt in my chest when he spoke after he had become President Elect.

Illegal Immigration is wrong, yes, and I was never for any amnesty. But I felt always that our laws are outrageous, and unfair. We need workers, we need hard workers like them. Especially since this hits so close to home. A very good friend of mine immigrated here from Holland when he was a boy. He was with us when we got arrested for vandalism. He was landed with a permanent felony, and after he serves his probation... He is getting deported, and he can never come back, or visit again.

Not only did my best friend die, but now another close friend is moving away, and I will never see his face again... The last time I saw his was at my best friends funeral. Our group was a strange one, at least people in school thought so. It was me, a kid from Holland, a black Muslim, and a few other guys.

His name was never released (the black muslim), he was tried as a juvuinale, and is now on his way to Harvard. I just wish I could still have a positive future. But I fear that since I was so brainwashed and so stupid, I may have destroyed my life in it's entirety...

You know, I wanted to become a Criminal Defense lawyer, for people who could not afford it. I planned to get my Journalism Degree, and then go to law school. But I also fear now that all of that is lost.

I have done some terrible things, but I can't forgive myself for this mistake. I know I am not evil, I never hated anyone. I grew up in a all white neighborhood in New York, there was one black student in my class. He turned out to be my best friend until I moved here when I was 5. And we still talk occasionally. But I only fear that he google's my name, and then I would loose another life time friend.

The damage I have done to myself, and my family is overwhelming... And my mind was just filled with things, that when I look back and think about them now... How stupid was I. Why did I join them? Why didn't I think? What pain and suffering have I caused?

I thank you for reading this ramble to those of you who did. If you wish to contact me on this matter please do so at thomas.coletto@gmail.com

I hope that at least maybe someone could forgive me, and the mistakes I have made thus far.

Regards,Thomas Vito Coletto

Alexandra Seals
Alexandra Seals

I am as you read this going on a two year fight with city/government and all the good old boys cover up.I am a business owner been relocated by the city on the Automated Train System. After 2 years city has failed. I am still going through planning and all the development for my new site. This is a nightmare and I don�t know how some people get the jobs.To date I don�t know who is making the end decision. Is it Transit, Metro, City or Aviation FAA? All of them just playing a game. Any e-mail to any of the good old Boys, Gordon, Fairbanks, and McCain and or any City council is opened by the staff. There are the once answering your question and or looking into a case. All there getting back are watered down versions of how to cover up there lies, and keep there jobs. I am fighting city Hall, matter of fact Wednesday 3:00PM I will be there demanding some answerers from the good old boys on my case. So I do know how the game is been played.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo

Clearly, larger-scale commercial real estate development...as well as litigating against others when you make sophomoric mistakes...isn't for rank amateurs. Glad she's sticking with tennis & small rentals in the future.

Tormented
Tormented

Wow what a shocker! The City of Phoenix being anything but streight forward and honest? All it takes is for someone, (not even a Lawyer)to look into the details at any of these meetings and they too will see that "cover-up" is a common practice in this City Government. The more you know doesnt always mean you are informed. It only means that you now know too much.

Mike
Mike

The title mentions nothing about her sexual preference, and it is mentioned only in passing at the beginning of the article. Her gender on the other hand, merely indicates that Az's development community is a bunch of good ol' boys. This doesn't mean that she wouldn't have had the same issues if she were a male that just wasn't part of the 'network'... I think you're overreacting on this headline.

hammbone
hammbone

What did any of this have to do with her gender or sexual preference ,as the title of the article suggests? Come on now, don't resort to that to gain readership!

Fly on the Wall
Fly on the Wall

I've worked in some of the largest law firms contract law divisions in the city and the collusion between the attorneys, developers and city planning and zoning is shocking. These people are disgusting and the State's Attorney General should be looking into busting this whole cabal up ASAP!

They've even got the one non-profit that should have been advocating against overdevelopment of our desert mountains in their pocket, the Desert Botanical Garden (aka Mums the Word).

 
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