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Half-Million-Dollar LA Housing Chief Axed — The Right Thing for the Wrong Reasons

Rudy Montiel lived like a king in Rancho Cucamonga while the poor people he was supposed to provide decent housing for often lived in squalor in substandard buildings.

In his seven-year reign of the perpetually troubled Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles drew multiple salaries and bonuses amounting to nearly half a million dollars a year from an ingenious scheme involving separate low and moderate income housing entities. montiel.jpg

He also got 10 weeks vacation plus a San Bernardino County house.

He should have been fired a long time ago for the excesses of his self-service, the long stream of lawsuits and critical audits, and  the failure of his $1 billion-a-year public housing empire to provide decent living conditions for the poor.

The end came Monday night, the LA Times reported, when the HACLA board fired him, saying they had lost confidence in his leadership — an action that comes days after Montiel said the board members should repay the agency for their own extravagances at the expense of the poor.

CBS-TV Channel 2 reported last month that HACLA board members took their daily travel allowance while on junkets for the agency plus charged extravagant meals and booze to their agency credit cards — $150,000 in all in the last two years.

The board did the right thing for the wrong reasons in firing Montiel and now should do the right thing for the right reasons in resigning themselves for failing to provide oversight to this state-created city agency — much like the Community Redevelopment Agency — and abusing their positions.

The mayor naturally has been invisible throughout this controversy under his watch and the City Council only stepped in briefly in November when the complaints of protesters were aired and Bill Rosendahl, summoned all his moral outrage, to ask over and over, “Where’s Rudy? Where’s Rudy?” (watch video)

What’s wrong with HACLA is no mystery.

Montiel himself was brought in from Texas after a long succession of scandals involving abuses of employees and theft of public money.

Critical federal audits and other abuses well documented here continued under his reign even as complaints grew about his outrageous salary and benefits and the agency’s failures to meet the needs of the poor.

None of that mattered to anyone at City Hall until protesters surrounded Montiel’s home last September and harassed his family while he took video of them and called the cops, eventually retaliating against some of those involved by having them evicted from their units.

Therein lies the moral of the story if you want City Hall to respond to your concerns: You have to engage in acts of disruptive civil disobedience to get their attention. At least, it has worked for the poor, the homeless, the minorities and the unions.

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9 Responses to Half-Million-Dollar LA Housing Chief Axed — The Right Thing for the Wrong Reasons

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is not new, the leadership from the board has been absent for a long time. Stotzer and Del Angel have been at the leadership of the board since Montiel came to HACLA. Montiel’s behavior is not new. They must be removed, Mr. Villaraigoza please do the right thing!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now if we can rid ourselves of our Mayor V. and the CityCouncil with their outrageous staffs and commissions. we could probably hire private industry to fix our streets, manage water breaks, water shortages, all sorts of things!
    I think that public participation in town hall forums with yes and no votes from
    attendees could find a way to keep libraries open. I am concerned that our
    neighborhood councils are under control of the city council.
    After all, we are able to live our lives very well without their interference – that is
    how we can afford the luxury of the present governance.
    We alsso need to clean up the problems caused by too much direction from our State and Federal advisors who at a high cost to us, tell us to stop smoking, stop drinking, stop driving our cars, lose weight (we eat too much, duh)!
    We cannot afford any of them anymore. can we? Hmmmmmmmmmm

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, the City Council has no oversight over HACLA based on an old law suit the City lost decades ago. The Mayor appoints the Board and the Council confirms the appointments, but that’s it. It’s a state agency and the State needs to hold HACLA accountable. Talk to John Chiang.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The parallels between HACLA and the mess created by the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District are striking. The HACLA Board flew around the country on extravagant junkets, eating and boozing in the finest restaurants on taxpayer money. And they were not only turning in their receipts for travel, food, lodging, but they were also demanding and getting a flat per diem payment that is supposed to cover these same expenses. That appears to be a crime.
    HACLA had an administrator, Rudy Montiel, who acted like a king and who avoided being fired long ago until he embarrassed the HACLA Board.
    The media absolutely needs to look at how much money Mona Field, Miguel Santiago, Georgia Mercer, Kelly Candaele, Nancy Pearlman, and Sylvia Scott-Hayes spent to fly to a bunch of conferences on environmentalism and sustainability using what is supposed to be capital bond construction funds.
    From 2000 to 2010, the LACCD drank the “sustainability and alternate energy scheme Koolaid” of Executive Director of Facilities, Larry Eisenberg. Whenever anyone questioned the logic or legality of Eisenberg’s actions, the Board, loving those wined and dined junkets on bond money, never took any action to halt Eisenberg crazy ideas. Eisenberg was derisively called “King Larry” in many circles because he was allowed to act without accountability.
    Then the LA Times put out its six-part investigation of massive LACCD waste, hair-brained energy plans, and potential fraud in subconsultant markups of employees. Just like the HACLA Board, the moment the LACCD Board of Trustees was embarrassed by the revelations about Eisenberg, they fired him.
    But neither Rudy nor Larry excuse the lack of integrity of public service by these board members
    The problems at HACLA and LACCD are traceable to the Board members. They are corrupted by the power of their positions and the dirty money that put them in office. These Boards must be cleaned of their appointees and officeholders. They ought to resign, but if they don’t, the people need to get them out.
    And the “asleep at the switch” District Attorney, who continues to refuse to open investigations of this corrupt governmental system must himself take action or be removed from office in shame.

  5. Sandy Sand says:

    “Therein lies the moral of the story if you want City Hall to respond to your concerns: You have to engage in acts of disruptive civil disobedience to get their attention. At least, it has worked for the poor, the homeless, the minorities and the unions.”
    And in the end, all that basically does is get L.A.’s mayor a code-violating fence around his house, and we get to pay for the house and the fence!

  6. Silvia says:

    Ron, A fact check from the IE, Rancho is in San Bernardino County.

  7. Something is wrong when you let complete fools manage billions, whether it involves the Housing Authority, the Community Colleges, or the City of Los Angeles. And then you add a little self interest to the equation to make the story really spicey.
    They ought to throw them all in the clink.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Give the job to Michael Logrande. At least he’ll quit effin our city and screw a segment so few care about. If anyone did, it wouldn’t take so long to get rid of Montiel.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Tell everyone to watch KCET SoCal Connected Thursday night to get the latest HACLA Montiel news. “Show Me The Money: The Junketeer”
    http://bit.ly/iaV4RZ

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