Palm Springs, COD still in limbo over attorneys’ conflict-of-interest waiver

  • On Nov. 18, Palm Springs’ council voted to OK the hiring of Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley.
  • A month later, the city says it has received no waiver.

Palm Springs is continuing to use an outside legal firm to represent it on issues regarding College of the Desert as the city has yet to come to an understanding with the school and the law firm Best, Best & Krieger over a possible conflict of interest. 

Last month, the Palm Springs City Council unanimously voted to authorize the city to hire Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley to represent it on issues regarding COD. City officials have expressed concern that the college has paused plans for a Palm Springs campus and complained that college leaders have been incommunicative.

Palm Springs City Attorney Jeffrey Ballinger wrote in a memo to the council that the city was looking to hire an outside law firm because state ethics rules would prohibit his firm, Best, Best & Krieger, from representing the city on the matter while another lawyer with his firm provides legal services to COD. That lawyer, Carlos Campos, simultaneously serves as the city attorney for the City of Coachella.