UPDATE: Continuing its exclusive coverage of the HACLA Scandal, KCET’s SoCal Connected now reports that Ken
Simmons, the interim head of the city’s housing authority, is resigning the post at the Mayor’s request and returning to his old job as chief operating officer. Here is the mayor’s letter to Simmons, praising the HACLA commissioners who paid off the former agency head, Rudy Montiel with a $1.2 million severance package, saying they have his “complete confidence.” (HACLA-mayoral-letter.pdf) The announcement came after revelations on SoCal Connected last Friday that
executives there had approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in extravagant expenses..
settlement, he certainly authorized and encouraged the chairman of the
board to move forward with the settlement so that the agency could end
an unfortunate chapter and move forward.”
In March multiple media reports, including a SoCal Connected investigation,
revealed top officials in the Los Angeles Housing Authority, the
beleaguered agency charged with housing the city’s poorest residents,
had been running up questionable charges on the public’s dime. Two
commissioners and then-CEO Montiel were ousted in response.
Last weekend the Times reported the housing authority had agreed to
pay Montiel a severance package that included a legal settlement of
$645,000 and a severance payment of about $540,000 for 18 months pay and
“The board was advised in this matter by both the City Attorney’s
office and private counsel, and the settlement was facilitated by an
experienced mediator. The terms were shared with the mayor’s office
before being finalized, and we have his full support for this decision,”
wrote Mitchell Kamin in an e-mail to SoCal Connected. Kamin is the board chair for the housing authority commission.
“Given the terms of the contract and the certainty of a costly and
lengthy legal battle that could have resulted in damages far in excess
of what was paid, we believe the settlement was in the best interests of
HACLA and the City,” Kamin wrote.