All sides in a pending “textgate” civil lawsuit against Orange County leaders have agreed to enter settlement talks.
A mediation hearing set for Thursday marks the first time that the officials accused of losing or destroying public records in a ballot referendum fight last year have agreed to sit down and discuss a potential deal.
At stake for the officials involved is a growing personal legal tab and potential further political embarrassment. For taxpayers, another bill to repay tens of thousands of dollars in plaintiffs’ legal costs could come from a settlement.
The civil suit was filed in late 2012 by Citizens for a Greater Orange County, a coalition of groups that led the fight for a paid-sick-time referendum opposed by county officials and local tourism interests last year.
A vote by Orange County commissioner to keep that measure off the 2012 ballot prompted a judicial panel in February to rule that the board had violated the county charter.