LOS ANGELES (CBS) — At the end of February David Goldstein’s investigation uncovered Housing Commissioners who were using taxpayers money for lavish spending — $158,000 over the past two years on travel and fine dining.

The commissioners are appointed by the mayor and have a billion dollar budget to oversee public housing for some of LA’s neediest families.

Since Goldstein’s story aired, The Housing Authority did an investigation — and found more than $12,500 was spent on unnecessary trips and double dipping. They uncovered another $12,700 in unsubstantiated expenses.  Commissioner Margarita Garr is being asked to refund more than $5,500, after it was discovered that she attended two conferences at swanky Ritz Carlton Hotels in Laguna and South Miami Beach, charging both to the Housing Authority credit card.  The investigation found the conferences didn’t really apply to redevelopment of public housing.

Last month, Garr told Goldstein if she owed any money, she would pay it back,  “I’d be more than happy to reimburse if there any monies I owe.”

Now Garr won’t back it up.

“You told me in the interview previously you’d be happy to reimburse any money. Are you going to reimburse the $5,500?,” Goldstein asked in his latest interview. She didn’t answer.

Commission Chairwoman Beatriz Stotzer also attended the Laguna Conference and was asked to pay back more than $2,300.

Commissioner Maria Del Angel was hit with a $3200 bill for unproved travel and double dipping. But she claims it was approved, “When I was looking at it I don’t think I owe the $3200. I’ll look into it and if I have to pay it I have to pay it”

Goldstein’s investigation has already caught the attention of city officials.  The Mayor said he would look into the travel. And now City Controller Wendy Gruel says she wants to conduct an audit.  The Housing Authority President agreed to have the controller look into it.  But while commissioners have been found to have mis-spent public money—according to the housing authority investigation, they have the right to overturn the president’s decision.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (22)
  1. Gold says:

    Taking it to the bank

  2. Matt says:

    Unscrupulous [b]itches! While you were basking in your luxurious hotel accommodations and smacking your lips over gourmet meals — old people who have contributed to the U.S. economy during most of their lifetime are now sleeping on the concrete public sidewalk and begging for stale food to calm their gnawing hunger. Where is their affordable housing? Everyone of you, and including Antonio Villaraigosa, is lower than a common Thief.

    1. Sandi A says:

      The mayor doesn’t care. He has a warm bed to sleep in every night.

      1. RubenRojo says:

        This kind of fraud and abuse of public funds has been going on for many, many years, way before the Mayor was a mayor…. I’m pretty sure that if they dig deeper they will uncover more of the same.

  3. Maureen Rogers says:

    They should only know what homeless people are subjected to. The are having $300.00 plus dinners + travel (travel where where, we need it here in America. They live the gay ol life while there are others are sleeping on nasty, yucky & ickey streets. No blankets, no roof, food a problem and the live the life of luxury. Let just twenty of those board people (housing) spend a week somewhere with current weather conditions as they are, without blankets, food or even under a make shift roof of sometype. What would these ingrates of the board do without all of the expense right offs they get. Not to mention they are employed at all. It’s not all that easy especially the uneducated which they are cutting back too to the lowest scoring students(in LA anyway) No hot running water for showers/bathing, no glamourous personal hygeine items, oh my gosh, no manicures/pedicures messages and all other personal they are enabled to, male or female. Don’t try to tell me men don’t have some of the luxuries women do. They have no clue how fortunate they are. No sleeping on skid row, without shelter, food, transportation, many are in need of medical help, (mental and physical). It’s horrible, I have seen it and came close to living it. How dare these people abuse the system they are supposed to support. and eran money for doing so! THEY HAVE NO REAL CLUE! They live comfortably so oh well, if those that really need asistance and housing don’t get it too bad. The whole situation infuriates me. I personally was lucky and (grateful) I had a very good upbringing. Raised in an upper middle class but things happen sometimes when the bottom falls out for on reason or another. I lived on the streets for months and was able to bring myself up. I ws raised that way. I am a strong 59 year old woman and very headstrong and independent person. Even though disabled, I did it. Yes I did use public assistance (which is very minimal, but I did it LEGALLY. It was not easy, believe me but I did come up. I have an apartment now and a older model car that has been very dependable. It took me 40+ years to finally get done what I needed to do wihout help from anyone (with the exception of public assistance). I write to say, “How dare you uppity ups” abuse the system. Yes it badly needs review and so much is wasted on people playing the system. I am not one of those, I have worked all my life from the age of 17 to 51 before becoming disabled and all I have put in for for taxes is darn near useless. Oh, let’s take take of the aliens with single mothers and 5-6-7 kids, all differend fathers are benefiting from what I worked for. Now, it doesen’t even pay for these to work as the government supports them.

    PLEASE tell me who I can contact to voice my opinion to. How dare you on these boards of directors gaouge the public as such. From the ground up to the president, let them all experience even just one week with no clothes, money, place to live and let them see what it’s all about.

    Great, we spend all this money we do for different reasons to different country countries and just don’t take proper care of Americas own citizens.

    Maureen Rogers

    1. brian says:

      Trust in me they will be on the streets we should petionton the IRS to do an audit on all city employess trust me you will come up with some sculpus stuff
      Id rather be in Jail then on the streets

  4. Maureen Rogers says:

    Oops, spelling was was bad after rereading what I wrote but I wa just so upset about this matter I just let the fingers fly without re-reading it. It’s now 3:43am LA time (PST) and I am also very tired.

  5. Trish says:

    Why Why Why does the City, County, State allow anyone to have a Credit Card? Just don’t understand??????? How about they spend their own money and have the City, County, State reimburse them??? That would stop the over spending.

    1. TT says:

      well in some situations – that just might not work – but they definately need to be regulated and monitored ….if thye had someone asking them why they needed to spend the city’s money -well they probably wouldnt be so willing to tell them they are gonna waste it…And they might take a little more responcibility for their actions and not be so careless with out tax dollars

  6. TT says:

    Glad you did well Maureen – its always good to hear about positive stories to encourage our young people that they can do it too – even in this economy….I have said several times in the past – everybody wonders where our hard earned tax dollars are going and why we have a deficit here in Ca …. If you look hard enough – it seems pretty obvious to me ….

  7. pico gardens housing projuects says:

    Thank you to whom ever brought this story to the attention of the media

  8. Dan says:

    Yeah, it is great that the Housing Authority Commissioners were found out, but now they want to come down on the little people who they have been given instruction too.

  9. A Resident says:

    Is our Mayor, going to really step in and do something?
    Like replace these commissioners, did he not see channel 2 news investigatons?
    Does he not know that commissioners move into low income Housing, and make demands to upgrade there apartments over the residents that have lived here for years. Demanding that Housing Authority workers be transfered making up lies on there say-so and nothing more.
    Having Expensive cameras placed to over look there arpartment for there protection at Housing Authority cost when no one else in the development has this it’s un-heard of ! And now to know if they want to, they can over ride Mr. Montiel decision to have Wendy Greuel investigate the commissioners this is too much!
    Mayor what are you waiting for you appointed them.

    1. Dan says:

      The mayor is not going to do a thing, because these are people that do his will.

  10. Nickerson says:

    No the Mayor does not care, cause most of the people he appointed straight kiss his a**. The Commissioners are supposed to oversee what goes on in Housing, put they let Montiel and others tell them what to do. So what is the point of having them.

    The Houisng Authority really does not care about the residents. They got it now were they contracted with an extermination company, to get rid of the pests. What this extermination company has been doing is working with Housing to give them an excuse to evict the residents. They lie and say that the residents places were not ready for extermination. The first time you are charged $60.00, when Housing sends the exterminators out again, they claim again that the places are not ready, you get charged another $60.00, after that you get a final notice and a 3 day eviction notice. That is what the Commissioners and President/CEO is doing to the residents, so what is so different that the Commissioners taking advantage were ever they can.

  11. hard working says:

    commissioner del angel is a resident of public housing, never worked and is always late paying her rent. she was just moved from one developement to a newly remodeled 4bdrm townhouse. If she wasn’t a commissioner she would have been evicted for non payment. she lives a plush life for someone who never worked ofcourse she will enjoy all the amenities the hard working tax payers contribute by goint to the high class ritz and eating $50 steak dinners. if she had to pay with her government assistant check she would be ordering from the dollar menu at mcdonalds and staying at comfort inn. david stay on it and maybe you will discover all the other fraud and misuse of tax payers dollars from the ceo and all his over paid directors and administrators.

    1. Dan says:

      She is not the only Commissioner who is said to be getting perks.

  12. the wolf says:

    These evil greedy people, did not care about nobody, but themselves. I am so glad that these greedy people were exposed of there dirty deeds. Paying back is ok, however firing them is even greater idea. That was an abuse of power, as far as I am concern. Jail even sounds good, comminity service even sounds better for these greedy klan. Taxpayers paying for their lavish life style. Boy, did they play the taxpayers as a fool. People on section 8, barely can afford eat at mcDonalds. I bet these greedy klan evicted, the tenants for not following the RULES! Now is that a kick in the head.

  13. D. says:

    The Mayor is in with the problems that plegs the CITY OF LOS ANGELESand HACLA. What ever happened to the thousands of dollars in hone loans through the CITY OF LOS ANGELES whereas the paperwork for those loans is/was lost. Noone has ever said anything else about this scandle. I

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