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Club Owner Files Motion To Add 11th Defendant To Lawsuit

Businessman David Cooper alleged the Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association conspired and a campaigned against him in order to threaten his permits for a new club in the Hawkins Plaza.

Cooper is suing the city for defamation and tortious interference, and Monday Cooper filed a motion to add the Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association to the list of defendants in that suit, now totaling 11.

Cooper claimed the Head of the Association, Mark Benitez, who was named in the original lawsuit, attempted to use the association to get himself out of hot water.

“The president of the Association, Mark Benitez, blames the Neighborhood Association rather than himself,” said Cooper. “In other words, Benitez really feels as though he acted in the official capacity as president of the association, therefore he shouldn’t be sued, when, in fact, now he and the association have been sued for that.”

When ABC7 asked Cooper if he thought Benitez was trying to shoulder the blame on to the association, he replied, “Absolutely.”

Benitez’s attorney, Hector Beltran, said his client was only acting in his role as president and spokesman for the association when he mentioned their 30-0 vote, opposing the granting of a liquor license for Cooper’s proposed establishment, back in October.

Beltran offered this statement:

“Mr. Benitez publicized the decision of the association as was his duty as president of the association . That he is apparently being sued individually for the decisions of the Association is simply improper.”

Beltran added that Cooper’s lawsuit fails to state exactly what Benitez allegedly said that was defamatory.

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