Politics

HACLA Spent $500,000 on Bonuses Over 2 Years

3:30 p.m. - New spending at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles has been revealed, according to a letter obtained by SoCal Connected. "I have taken a number of steps to address the most serious allegations that have been made," wrote Douglas Guthrie, the newly appointed CEO of the agency, to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday. The letter details a number of issues, some which were not known to the public until now.

Performance bonuses in 2009 and 2010, at the height of the recession, were $322,775 and $205,000, respectively, wrote Guthrie, who has now discontinued the program for 2011.

Bonuses to senior management over the past two years included over $48,000 to COO Ken Simmons and more than $25,000 to Sanford Riggs, Director of Housing Management (A list of bonuses for 12 members of senior management can be seen below in the embedded letter).

The letter also reveals that 18 members of senior staff had use of government cars. In January, 16 of them will be reassigned to a motor pool available to HACLA employees when conducting agency business. The remaining two will go to public safety and facilities management operations.

In mid-November public records requests for total salary compensation (bonuses included) and vehicle usage were submitted to the agency by SoCal Connected. "HACLA didn't give it to us and still has yet to disclose that information," said Karen Foshay, a SoCal Connected producer. "With all this talk of transparency, we're still waiting."

HACLA has been under scrutiny since last March when SoCal Connected and other media outlets exposed controversial expenses at the agency, which is responsible for providing shelter to L.A.'s most vulnerable residents. SoCal Connected continued its reporting earlier this month, breaking the news about more lavish spending on meals, gifts and employee incentives (see an interactive database detailing these expenses here). The agency is now under review by the L.A. City Controller's office and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Guthrie's full letter can be viewed below:

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