What a jerk—though I could hurl out some other expletives at this guy named Kevin Degnan,who apparently liked seeing himself as the Hugh Hefner of the East Bay (Hugh, of course, pictured here).
Anyway, Degnan, an, uh, distinguished citizen and plastic surgeon in our East Bay suburbs took his case all the way to the state Supreme Court, according to this report in the Contra Costa Times.
And what was his “righteous cause,” for which he spent lots of his own money, but also wasted lots of taxpayer-funded court time and resources?
Well, he liked to throw big Playboy mansion-style parties on the 13-acre estate in the exclusive Alamo enclave known as Jones Ranch. He moved to this estate in 2003 and would helicopter in some guests and have others park their cars in a traffic turnaround on his property that could accommodate up to 50 vehiles.
Neighbors were not happy, alleging that the parties were cesspools of public sex and underage drinking—and that his guests made lots of noise, shouted obscenities, littered the streets, and parked in front of their driveways. Neighbors went to court, and his Jones Ranch Homeowners Association filed suit.
In his response to the suit, Degnan claimed that the homeowners’ association rules discriminated against his guests, because they included non-whites and lovely young females. Degnan proclaimed, in his court filings, that he was being picked on because he didn’t fit into his neighbors’ “picture-perfect world” and that there was a “bias against his attractive female party guests.” He also noted that many women living in his area are "matronly, middle-aged or elderly."
I suppose he would like to think us to he’s fighting for the good old right of property owners to do what they want on their property. He wants to be property owners’ knight in shining armor.
You know, a couple years ago, I might have laughed this one off as yet another ha-ha example of the silly excesses of the local rich and not-so-famous. And yet another example of affluent suburbanites getting all huffy about, as Degnan says, fitting into their “picture-perfect” idea of how their little precious little world should be.
But times have indeed changed. Friends of mine have lost jobs, my 401K has landed in the crapper, my 85-year-old mom lost a lot of her retirement savings, my family’s health insurance premiums are going up. Beyond that, Contra Costa County social workers, who handle child abuse cases, have lost jobs. So have teachers. People around our community have lost homes to foreclosure, and nonprofits that provide a social safety net are struggling for dollars. Oh, and there are more people everywhere in America who are homeless and hungry. Do I need to go on?
Sure, it’s Degnan’s money to use to wage his “righteous” court battle. But he gets my vote as a Keith Olbermann-style Worst Person in the World for choosing to use so much money in such a frivolous, self-indulgent way.
The only justice here? Degnan is out the $600,000 he had to pay in legal costs, including about $280,000 that he, as the losing party in this case, had to turn over to the homeowners association to cover their legal costs.