First it was backdated stock options. Now it’s trying to demolish your historic mansion, and having to pay attorney fees as a result. What’s next: Shoplifting black turtlenecks at Target?
Here’s the deal with the 17,250 square foot mansion nestled on six forested, rolling acres in Woodside. It was built in 1925 for copper baron Daniel Jackling in the Spanish Colonial revival style and has a lot of nifty little copper fixtures.
But Jobs is more a fan of the, you know, white plastic look.
So in 2001, he told the town of Woodside that he was going to bulldoze that junk heap of a 30-room, 14-bedroom, 13.5-bathroom mansion. In 2004, the city said “Fine by us, Mr. Jobs, sir,” but a group of preservationists called Uphold Our Heritage got uppity and fought both Jobs and the city in court.
Well, the courts saw it Uphold Our Heritage’s way and the state Supreme Court refused to take an appeal in April. After that, the trial court awarded Uphold Our Heritage attorney’s fees to the tune of $403,548 for the work done by a small Santa Monica land use firm called Chatten-Brown & Carstens. And just today San Francisco's First District Court of Appeal* affirmed (.pdf) the fee award in an unpublished ruling. Jobs and the town of Woodside were represented by Howard Ellman.
In agreeing with the trial court, the First District* even cited a 2001 case, Wershba v Apple Computer Inc., to justify the size of the attorney fees. Ouch.
— Zusha Elinson
* Corrected from earlier version that said "Supreme Court." Ouch.