Michael Schlesinger of Stuck in the Rough is sort of the proverbial “bad boy,” developer, a spoiled rich guy from Beverly Hills who doesn’t think that the rules apply to him, and who shrugs off city citations like they are droplets of rain falling on a Teflon raincoat.
Of course, when people get Schlesinger’s ire up, like the residents of the Escondido Country Club area who fought him on his original proposal to build more than 480 units on the old, defunct golf course, his tactics are pretty bad boy bully-like. Several years ago he dumped a truck full of chicken manure on the course and let it fester for a few days, causing a number of people to get sick.
In 2015 he was fined $100,000 by the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District for that prank.
This week, when its patience had finally frayed and then snapped, the city of Escondido wanted to get Schlesinger’s attention because, both before and after the Black Friday fire of November 22 he had allowed the country club property to literally go to seed. He has refused to put up barriers to vandals, or to tear down the gutted country club itself in preparation for the development that New Urban West Inc. was approved by the city council to build for him on that land.
After about three years of waiting for Schlesinger to act, the city hit him personally with 12 counts of a misdemeanor criminal complaint, an act that his attorney calls “frankly appalling” and “without any warning or a prior discussion.” The attorney claims that it’s actually the property manager who works for Schlesinger who is at fault in this instance.
Sadly, I find myself agreeing with the attorney that Schlesinger should have been given a warning that was something more meaningful than that mere citations was headed his way.
The most appropriate warning that the city could have given Schlesinger would have been to empty a dump truck full of farm animal refuse on his front lawn. However, the city of Beverly Hills probably would have objected to that action. So, in lieu of a big pile of steaming, eye-watering high-quality excrement to get his attention, 12 counts of criminal misdemeanor charges will, unfortunately, have to do.
Schlesinger doesn’t deserve what he’s getting, without a doubt. But real justice is probably not going to happen in this case. And that just stinks!