March 24, 2005

Santa Cruz Island Suit Dismissed


A federal judge earlier this week dismissed a rambling lawsuit filed by Francis Denby "Denny" Gherini of Oxnard against dozens of federal officials, judges, his two sisters and former Rep. Bob Lagomarsino over the sale of Mr. Gherini's family's former ranch on Santa Cruz Island.

U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz called the suit "sprawling, confusing and sometimes inconsistent" in its claims that 42 individuals -- including Mr. Gherini's own family members -- violated racketeering laws to ensure that the federal government would gain title to the family's 10 percent share of the island as part of the effort to establish the Channel Islands National Park.

Mr. Gherini filed the federal action in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in October, alleging the government tried to "fraudulently misappropriate, embezzle, and convert to their own purposes, the oil, gas and mineral rights primarily lying in submerged area (sic), a part of Santa Cruz Island, and in particular, the Gherini Ranch and its offshore areas."

But Judge Matz concluded that Mr. Gherini, a 62-year-old real estate broker, was using the federal courts to re-litigate a state probate case over how his parents' estate was distributed. Mr. Gherini and his two sisters, Andrea Gherini Gallant and Catherine Gherini Beauclair, are the children of Francis Ambrose and Inez Gherini, who were the last private landowners on Santa Cruz Island, with title to about 6,200 acres of ranchland

Posted by gandlwoods at March 24, 2005 07:21 AM