Two years ago, Carmel lawyer Glen Mozingo resigned from his city’s Library Board with a blast, saying he was upset by the administration of Mayor Jason Burnett and City Administrator Jason Stilwell. In an interview with the Carmel Pine Cone, he even accused the two Jasons of stealing newspapers from the racks whenever they contained critical articles.
The year before, Mozingo’s wife, Heidi Burch, had resigned her post as Carmel’s city clerk and assistant city administrator for similar reasons, disgruntlement with Burnett’s management style and Stilwell’s personnel policies. Their resignations were among the storms in a long-playing controversy that ended with Stilwell’s resignation and Burnett’s decision not to seek re-election.
That was then. In the 2016 election, Mozingo was a key supporter of successful mayoral candidate Steve Dallas, who defeated Burnett ally Ken Talmage, and he is now considered a good bet to be the next city attorney. Longtime City Attorney Don Freeman still holds the part-time, contract position but he acknowledged Wednesday that “there could be an announcement in the near future.”
Freeman said he doesn’t believe Mozingo’s appointment is a done deal, however.
“My recommendation would be to do a national search for someone with the right experience and temperament to serve the city of Carmel,” Freeman said. Freeman, 75, is also city attorney for Seaside and represents the Peninsula mayors’ water authority and the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.
Sparking considerable speculation, the city recently retained Mozingo to assist the city in negotiating its next contract with the non-profit organization that operates the city-owned Sunset Center. Mozingo said his work for the city is limited to that role for now but he acknowledged he might be interested in the city attorney’s post.
Much of Mozingo’s law practice has been in Southern California. He is currently a partner in the firm of Mozingo and Patel, which lists offices in Carmel, Irvine and London. According to its website, it specializes in estate planning, business law and civil litigation. The website goes into considerable detail about the firm’s specialties and representative clients but doesn’t mention any government work or municipal clients. Mozingo, however, said he has represented numerous local government agencies, all in Southern California, mostly as a litigator. He mentioned that he also represented former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates for 18 years.
The website also lists several awards for Mozingo, including the “American Jurisprudence Award in Trial Practice,” a 2003 Top Lawyers in California award from the American Lawyers Council, and a 2003 Congressional Medal of Distinction.
The American Jurisprudence in Trial Practice designation is awarded to high-achieving students in many law schools. Mozingo graduated from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego in 1979.
The Top Lawyers award is given by American Lawyers Media, which operates a number of legal publications and directories. The Partisan couldn’t find any record of the American Lawyers Council.
The Congressional Medal of Distinction is awarded periodically to top financial contributors to the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Dallas didn’t return messages seeking comment Wednesday. His campaign Facebook page features a video of Mozingo addressing Dallas’ campaign kickoff event with a 16-minute denunciation of Talmage and Burnett.