Rancho Redux

The longtime real estate development partner of Clint Eastwood is being sued by one of his attorneys, who alleges the developer failed to pay the bill he amassed while she successfully represented him against a lawsuit and appeals brought by the Carmel Valley Association against the Rancho Cañada housing project.

Attorney Jacqueline Zischke sued Alan Williams, Rancho Cañada Venture LLC and ACLS LLC – another limited liability company Williams created – in Monterey County Superior Court on July 9. It’s the same venue where the CVA sued the county and Williams in 2017 after the Board of Supervisors approved the 130-unit residential development and, in the process, amended the Carmel Valley master plan so the development only had to offer 20 percent of the units as affordable, rather than the 50 percent the master plan previously dictated.

Although the CVA won in local courts on May 19, with a judge telling the county it needed to set aside its approval of the project and amend its affordable housing ordinance, the Sixth District Court of Appeals overturned the decision.

In her complaint, Zischke states her representation of Williams goes back to 2009 but that she entered into an oral agreement in January 2017 to represent Williams and his LLCs against the CVA lawsuit; the oral agreement included an hourly rate for services that would adjust from time to time.

In 2019 through the end of her representation, that rate was $395 an hour for her, $195 an hour for paralegal or clerk time. Her final bill, through July 2, 2021, was $128,474.65, plus interest.

Zischke did not respond to a message left with her office. Williams says the suit is over the amount of the bill and hopes the two can reach an agreement.

“We have a disputed amount on the bill for services,” he says. “We’ve worked together for a long time and are trying to work through this thing. Whether we’ll reach an agreement, I don’t know.”

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