Property Owner Takes Legal Action After Prop H Failure

Voters have rejected a measure to replace the former Escondido Country Club golf course with tract housing.

There was no mistaking their distaste for Prop H -- they defeated the proposition 61 to 39 percent. But Michael Schlesinger, who owns the property in question, won't take no for an answer, saying he’s optimistic he will prevail in court.

Schlesinger is suing the City of Escondido after it zoned the former golf course as "open space."

‘Yes on H’ campaign strategist Jason Roe said Schlesinger hoped not to have to pursue the legal route, but now that Prop H failed, it’s his only option.

Roe estimates a judge could grant Schlesinger $75 to $100 million.

“When he bought the property, it was zoned for 600 residential homes,” said Roe. “After he bought it the city then rezoned it as permanent open space, thus taking the value of the property away from him.”

City attorney Jeffrey Epp told NBC 7 that’s “the silliest thing (he’s) ever heard.” He said that’s “just rhetoric.”

Epp said Schlesinger hasn’t even tried to work with the city on another use for the land, but instead, has rushed it to court.

He added that it could be years before the situation is resolved. Either way, Escondido residents will likely put up another fight.

“It's been our life and so when this was going to be taken away from us, we said ‘wait a minute.’ The community got together we had a group of leaders. They brought ECCHO and we just fought like heck," 'No on H' volunteer Linda Linderman said. "We won this round. It’s not over."

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