Saturday, February 26, 2011

VIDEO: CBS 2 INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: L.A. Housing Commissioners Eating All The Community Money on Lavish Ritz-Carlton Events (Expensive Double Dips!)

PUBLIC NOTICE: Maria Del Angel...PLEASE do not eat all the L.A. Housing money! The people need it for housing, and all the Ritz-Carlton dinners in the world won't buy you a cent of class.


Click here if embedded video player doesn't appear here.

LOOK HOW GREEDY AND PATHETIC THESE POOR SOULS ARE...AND LOOK HOW DUMB AND DOPEY THEY LOOK WHEN THEY ARE BUSTED BY CBS 2 NEWS CAMERAS. (Like dopey-ass deer in headlights.) YOU ARE SO BUSTED AND NOW, PUBLICLY DISGRACED AND HUMILIATED EVERYWHERE YOU GO. (So much for class or dignity!)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — They oversee housing for some of LA’s neediest families.

But a CBS2 News investigation has found some LA housing commissioners living the good life on taxpayer money. Spending tens of thousands on fancy hotels and lavish restaurants. David Goldstein reports.

EXCERPTS FROM VIDEO REPORT ABOVE:

The Housing Authority of the City of LA manages 6500 public housing units like the ones here at Pico Gardens in East LA. Thousands of LA’s neediest families live here…many worried about putting a roof over their head or where their next meal will come from. But we’ve found some housing commissioners spend more on travel than some of these people will make in an entire year!

The commissioners oversee a billion dollars of taxpayer money, mostly from the federal government.

They’re appointed by the mayor. It’s a parttime job. They make no salary. Just $50 a meeting. And have to deal with an ever shrinking budget.

But we found they spent $158,000 over the past two years on travel and fine dining. Mostly attenting housing related conferences at swanky hotels.

We found receipts from the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., Miami Beach and Laguna Niguel.

A room here at the Ritz in Laguna certainly isn’t the Motel 6. According to this receipt, it cost taxpayers more than $400 a night. Nearly $2,000 for a four day conference attended by Commissioner Margarita Garr.

“The purpose of these conferences is to enhance our knowledge as commissioners.” [That's some cost/price to pay. I wonder how much community members feel your knowledge was enhanced. Maybe all the enhanced knowledge just wasn't put into action. Too busy feeding your face!]

We also obtained documents showing at least three commissioners received cash advances of hundreds of dollars in per diem on some trips to cover all meals while on the road. But then used Housing Authority credit cards for room service and restaurants. What’s called double dipping. [Not like the kind on the "Seinfeld" episode with potato chips and dip! Oh no...]

Including a $30 shrimp dinner. $25 salmon entree. We found it in the travel documents for Commissioner Alicia Maldonado. It shows she received $319.50 in per diem…then charged this $167.00 dinner for four people, including herself, to the Housing Authority credit card.

“Is that double dipping?”

“No, I don’t think so.” [YOU PAY FOR ALL THAT ENHANCED KNOWLEDGE THEN YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE MOST OBVIOUS DEFINITION OF DOUBLE DIPPING IS??? WOW, you have TERRIBLE judgment and must be plain dumb. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU OVERSEE? You are in charge of WHAT?]

She at first denied it. And then called it an oversight.

“You’re correct. It would have been better to pay with the cash I had in my hand.” [She must have gone to the "Jose Huizar's School of Deny Till Laughable."]

Documents also apparently show Commissioner Maria Del Angel did the same thing…getting a cash advance of $390.50 for a trip to Washington last September. Then charging a nearly $250.00 dinner for a group of people, including herself. [That group of people WAS herself!]

“You can’t get a per diem and then go to a restaurant and charge that can you?”

“Yes, no?”

“I guess you’re right on that.” [Maria Del Angel is still not sure. She only guesses he is right. WOW, she's in charge of WHAT? She has WHAT responsibility? I think your average LAUSD second grader could understand this more easily than Maria.]

And there were some great meals. We found this receipt for a $1,000 dinner in Washington, D.C. attended by several commissioners and others who were attending a convention. It was at Fogo de Chao, a chain of Brazilian steak houses with one in Beverly Hills…known for its 15 cuts of beef.

The receipt shows 12 people sat at the table…ordering 12 steak dinners for $49.50 a piece!

They also had 16 Caipirinhas, the Brazilian national cocktail. Made with a special rum.

$9.75 a drink!

According to Housing Authority policy, company credit cards cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

“Do you know credit can’t be used for alcohol?”

“Yes.” [Well, at least now were getting somewhere!]

But three commissioners split the bill, including Commissioner Garr. And put it on their credit cards…after getting their cash advance.

“Who’s minding the store?”

Housing Authority President Rudolph Montiel said because of our investigation, he’s reassessing conference travel and looking into the allegations of double dipping. [Still hasn't taken a position...but is "reassessing!"]

“I think we will undertake a rigorous examination of these expenses and determine what if any expenses have to be reimbursed and then ask the commissioners to reimburse these monies.” [A "rigorous examination?" How about, "I can assure you this will not be happening anymore?" "If any?" You already have these people on camera admitting to this.]

We told the mayor who appointed the commissioners. He wants to see if all the $158,000 in taxpayer money was well spent.

“I want to know when it was used…how it was used.”

It comes as good news to residents of public housing —

“It’s ridiculous they get that kind of money.” [WOW, Antonio...you really sound authoritative and in charge! Dare I say, "Successful?"]

— who hope the money spent on good food and fancy hotels on the road can be put to better use at home.

David Goldstein, CBS2 News

FULL ARTICLE

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