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City Of Chico May Face ‘Significant’ Fine After Councilman Discusses Homelessness Lawsuit

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Chico, California.

A federal judge is threatening “significant monetary sanctions” against the city of Chico and a city councilman for discussing details of settlement talks related to homeless encampments.

An order issued Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman suggests Councilman Sean Morgan ran afoul of the court’s rules in his appearance on a local KPAY radio program.

The judge’s order says Morgan aired details discussed during the city’s settlement conferences with a group of unhoused people suing over alleged violations of their civil rights. The judge further notes Morgan disparaged the plaintiffs.

Judge Newman is giving the city of Chico seven days to show why he shouldn’t issue significant fines against the city and/or Morgan for discussing confidential information.

Councilman Morgan told NSPR he cannot comment on the judge’s order.

In the radio program, which aired Sept. 9, Morgan said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit – Warren v. City of Chico – are holding the city hostage and not negotiating in good faith.

Morgan further stated the plaintiffs have a “list of demands that makes it look like they want a … Holiday Inn.”

The city of Chico has been barred from enforcing its anticamping ordinances while the lawsuit proceeds.