City Inspectors Deem Tilting Millennium Tower Safe; Trump Lawyer, God Pulled Into Blame Game

City officials have deemed the tilting and sinking Millennium Tower safe for occupancy, but the blame game continues as homeowners, developers and city officials continue debating who is financially responsible for the tower's structural woes.

For those who've taken a break from the drama, here are some of the most recent developments.

Residents Remain Uneasy

While the Department of Building Inspection’s latest report found that the tower is still structurally sound, the fears of some Millennium homeowners and residents have not been assuaged.

The Chronicle reported that during a December 2nd inspection, DBI inspectors found stress on the electrical support systems and evidence of strain on the foundation, as well as water intrusion in the basement. Regardless, “the building is safe to occupy at this time,” the report concluded, noting that many required repairs had already been handled.

But that’s not good enough for Jerry Dodson, a resident who also happens to be an attorney, and is representing some of his fellow residents in a pending lawsuit. Dodson told the Chron that the city’s analysis was inadequate, and that he and his clients are waiting on the results of a separate geotechnical study commissioned by the tower's homeowner’s association.

As Litigation Heats Up, Former Trump Lawyer Jumps In The Ring

The Millennium Tower homeowner's association is also gearing up for its legal battle—with the help of a celebrity lawyer who recently represented President Trump in court.

The Chronicle reported Monday that the homeowner's association has retained Los Angeles-based lawyer Dan Petrocelli for its suit against the tower’s developer, Millennium Partners (aka Mission Street Development LLC.).

Petrocelli is perhaps best known for helping the family of Nicole Brown Simpson win a $33.5 million wrongful-death suit against O.J. Simpson in 1997. More recently, Petrocelli represented Trump in the class-action lawsuit students filed against Trump University—settling the case for $25 million and no admission of guilt, just one month before Trump took the oath of office.

According to the Chronicle, Petrocelli expects a “swift” resolution. But this isn’t the only legal battle brewing.

Some Millennium Tower residents are now suing Millennium Partners (the tower's developer), the San Francisco city attorney, the Department of Building Inspection and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority for fraud, the SF Business Times recently reported. That’s on top of a similar civil claim residents filed against the city and developer last fall.

The four defendants are also suing each other. Millennium Partners is suing the city and TJPA, and the city is suing Millennium PartnersThe outcome could potentially cost taxpayers millions of dollars, NBC Bay Area uncovered last fall.

Berkeley Engineer Blames God

Don't count the Board of Supervisors out of the equation. Making good on his promise to investigate the city's role in this debacle, District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the board's Government Oversight & Audit Committee recently interrogated Jack Moehle, the Berkeley civil engineering professor who Millennium Partners hired in 2004 to assess the building's foundation design.

According to ABC7, Moehle told the panel of city supervisors that all of the work within his scope "was going very well," and that pushing for a geotechnical peer review of the building's foundation was not his responsibility.

But Moehle does have his own idea of who may be the real culprit behind the tower's problems.

"Well, you know, the responsible party may be the earth that God gave us," he told NBC Bay Area. "Sometimes it's not a person. Sometimes it's a set of circumstances beyond individuals.”

We'll be sure to share additional updates as the Millennium Tower saga continues to unfold. 

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