LOS ANGELES (CBS) — “His employment contract with HACLA is deemed terminated.”

With those eight words — The LA Housing Authority commissioners fired CEO Rudolf Montiel, an act he calls retaliation.

Last month a CBS news investigation exposed some commissioners spent more than $158,000 in the past two years on fancy hotels and fine dining — mostly at housing related conferences.

Last week Montiel sent them letters asking them to return some money. Now they canned him. But the acting Board Chairman said Montiel’s evaluation had been ongoing since last summer.

“It has nothing to do with any of the recent media reports — completely independent. But the appearance of it — coming one week — that’s your opinion — your statement.”

But residents of public housing, which the commissioners oversee, don’t buy it.

“You’re not going to take our money and have a good time and think we’re going to sit back and allow you to do it. I truly believe that’s why you’re picking on Montiel is that you’re as**s are in hot water.”

And some residents said it’s the commissioners who should be shown the door.

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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 (32)
  1. A. A. says:

    How do the commissioners get away with firing someone who is doing their job and while they continue to steal from taxpayers?

    1. Joel says:

      It’s L.A ! That’s why !

    2. Deborah Hyatt DeStefano says:

      I am a resident of a bldg that was doing just fine under ‘Conventional Housing” a H.A.C.L.A. program. Out of nowhere comes Montiel telling the tennants here that we will now be Sec. 8 and with HUD money, this huge bldg will see much needed repairs and improvements. After over a year of this dump becoming a true rathole because Montiel and his ‘crew’ were using all the HUD money on themselves. He was greasiing palms with Villariagosa big time and got investment company LOMOD, who purchased this building, into a subsidiaryof HACLA and gained them non-profit status… we’re talking about an investment company people! Montiel is guilty as hell. His bus. card has the HACLA logo, a government agency, and under his name it says CEO and Pres. NO WAY does a gov. agency call itself a corp. with a president? I called their offices a whole lot to let them know what I knew, and how the elderly and disabled tenants here were rotting in the filth and dying in their beds during the summer heat. To shut me up, they installed an air conditioner in my unit (we have approx 200 units). I have to say I got a huge butt kissing from all at their offices. They came here for a tour while I showed them how disgusting and in disrepair this bldg was. I emailed the details as I knew them to HUD in D.C. and they forwarded it to Montiel, and he hired a mgmt company to run this place with a bunch of mgmt and maint people who don’t have a clue how to do their jobs. It was a quickie fix to make things look right. After much begging and aggravation, the other units were having a/c units installed, and they have not been completed. Many of us have vouchers for showers, which we still do not have. Many people who live here cannot use a regular bath tub. I can’t believe how many residents of other bldgs are saying he is innocent. I smelled his stink right from the start and watched hit snowball into a huge scandal, as it should. I’m so happy that there will finally be some accountability for the HUD money that is supposed to go to the bldgs that are nbow sec 8 and have been alloted those funds for US! Montiel had 2 huge office spreads on Wilshire Blvd, one a penthouse. Can’t even imagine how many showers in possibly all the hacla housing units this rent alone could have paid for. I hope that this will stop the theft of HUD money by those who are trusted to distribute it properly. CBS is taking all the credit, ;but there’s just much more to the story than they have reported. I welcome anyone to stop by Independence Square for a personal tour of the enormous waste of all of our tax dollars. Right now the mgmt company is practically taking over our bldg, spending a fortune on converting huge areas on the first and second floors to have their headquarters here while the manage several other properties. We have many bittier residents who don’t want to live in an office bldg, especially where price is no object as they upgrade their quarters and ignore the needs of the tenants. I am excited to see what changes will be made. I’m so sorry I was unaware of that meeting, because I certainly have a lot of info to add to this excessive spending of monies that are for the people in housing, not for HACLA, OR the new mgmt company. I’ve been begging to have my exterior wall on my balcony painted for weeks, and have been ignored and treated as if I’m a moron, just because I live here. Well today, after this big bust (I sure hope that the felony charges of elder abuse will be added to all those who stole from us) the mgmt rushed up to my apt to tell me that my exterior walls will be cleaned and painted on Monday. ONE FOR THE PEOPLE!!! I hear Montiel pulled this same scam in Texas. If you have the resources, check it out. He’s a slug.

  2. gregg says:

    Whatever information CBS discovered was in fact leaked to them by Montiel as there was serious in-fighting at HACLA between the two parties. By leaking this too CBS Montiel hoped to take the heat off of him for his retailiatory act against the tenants he tried to evict for protesting at his home. The CHPS Union has been trying to get this info. to the LA Times reporters. But we could not speak open & freely or be terminated by Montiel. He inside is known for his vicious attack on ANYONE who doesn’t do as he says. Get it right CBS, you didn’t do anything but follow the cooky crumbs Montiel fed you.

  3. Retired Mgt. says:

    When we raised the issue of Montiel getting paid $500,000 a year with many great benefits. Where was CBS, LA Times et al? Just like the crooks in the City of Bell, you only had to look at Montiels inflated benefits for an agency who deals with the very lowest economic groups in this city, but no one cared to investigate. So you outsiders, trust us LA is 100% better with Montiel gone. This man was ran out of El Paso, TX do your home work CBS. He has covered up more ratilitory terminations at his hands costing the city millions; and then having the cases sealed so the public cannot see what he did wrong. The citizens have a right to view these cases and lost money. LA you made this man a millionaire by allowing him to work here.

  4. Angry Residents says:

    So you agree with the comissioners , on firing Mr. Montiel, who’s gonna pay off his contract? you Mayor? oh i know it’s the taxpayers!!!
    comissioners , still need to be investagated, and be made to pay back that money. RESIDENTS WILL NOT STAND STILL FOR THIS…
    Maybe you need to come out of your hiding place and answer our questions face to face,
    the comissioner is holding down a five bedroom in Pico Gardens . Housing Authority moved out the previous tenant with small children and placed that family in a hotel.
    so the comissioner could be moved in, with her two adult children in a large five bedroom. I didn’t know if someone brakes your car window it’s reason to ask for an emergency transfer. and say your in fear of your life and get housing workers mainly the mailers to drive you around to and from work.
    It just goes to show us just how these comissioners have abused there Authority for there own selfish reasons and to think our Mayor agree’s with them, what is wrong with this picture? p.s . i do believe she broke her own window if there was any window broken at all. no has of yet seen any police report.

    1. Karen says:


      If a person is terminated for cause, they do not receive the remaining benefits of their contract.

      I suspect there will be a fight over this but ultimately, Montiel will be terminated for cause if the person posting all these negative issues is telling the truth.

  5. dolf says:

    Montiel, sounds Jewish.

    1. Kiki walker says:

      Your stupid bigotry is really appalling, with just a few words you manage to smear Latinos and Jews! Shame on you. WHEN IT COMES TO GREED trust me it crosses ALL ethinicities. Why I bet you have already been bought and sold as fertilizer MANY TIMES.

      1. Anthony Jones says:


  6. JW says:

    Public housing residents say, “You’re not going to take OUR money and have a good time and think we’re going to sit back and allow you to do it.”…
    .”OUR money”? Seriously now.

  7. Angry Angel says:

    Remember, these are the same clowns who install the newest technology. security cameras, and hire security guards to protect them from us — with our monies!

  8. Wally Wharton says:

    Another Supremeo example of typical Mexican corruption in Los Angeles courtesy of Tony Villar!!

  9. Marcus says:

    Why are public housing residents complaining about anything? They should just be glad to be receiving subsidized housing, not be under some delusion that they’re paying for any of this.

  10. Robert says:

    Angry Residents yelling their heads off about “it’s their money”, I’m a tax payer and I do work and I’m not claiming that that’s my money like you are. You don’t work and you have been living off the system for many years. You are the same people that have been receiving welfare and have been saying they are sick so that you can exploit the social security and pay the minimum rent. Angry residents to your comment about the commissioner moving into Pico gardens; she already cleared that article with facts to the reporter. It’s another thing that reports like David Goldstein only report what’s convenient for their news, and disregarding the hard work put in by the commissioners on a regular basis which is volunteered.

  11. Dan says:

    To some of the comments saying that everyone living in public Housing is on welfare, that is a miss statement, because some people do work, been working for years. All of of them, Montiel, the Commissioners need to be let go the way they are doing the residents. How would you like it, if you were a senior citizen on fixed income, having to pay $180.00 of money for Housing to keep calling out a bunch of lying a** exterminators, saying the people’s places were not ready to be exterminated, when all they do is put a drop of gel on one hang in the kitchen. If you don’t know what actually goes on in public housing then shut the f**k up.

  12. Mamini says:

    To the person that mentioned that this is another Mexican cortuption get it straight cause not all the commissioners are Mexican…there African Americans, Latina/os, White and even Asians…not all the people living in housing are on welfare..some just cant afford to pay hight rents…i bet anything that if this was an opportunity any of you would have you would take it cause its something that helps many families..

    1. CA562DUDE says:

      I Agree with you.. I grew up in Public Housing, When I was kid My Mom was only making $375 – A week, We was never on Welfare, Now she Makes Over 3K a weeks and bought a 300K House in carson…

  13. Robert says:

    Hey Dan I know the type of exterminations that they use, I don’t know what units you have been in but the units that I have visit they have been clean and had no roaches and this is with the gel. Dan I’m not saying all people are on welfare. If you read right it says to angry residents. Their hard working people living in public housing I was specifically talking about this individual that she always yells out that that’s her money being spent when she does not work and pays minimum of rent and she is not a senior. I’m not against people who live in public housing once again I’m against people who don’t work and they think they deserve everything just for the simple fact they don’t want to do anything in their life. We do have a lot housing residents that work hard and want to succeed in life.

    1. Dan says:

      Robert, I understand what you are saying, it is just that the people that are tiring to be honest, doing the right thing are being treated like dogs on the streets. Housing does not care about any of them. And the ones in the largest housing the development, Housing is sure doing them wrong. Just finding reasons to evict them. That is what has me so mad. You are referring to BonBon, Veronica Mendoza. Because of their actions, Housing is coming down on everyone, now. It is just a straight mess, to the exterme.

  14. Fair and Balanced says:

    Rudolf Montiel was fired for cause. Most of the reasons weren’t cited in media reports. He failed to renovate Jordan Downs. In fact, unlike other Execute Directors of large cities, Montiel failed to accomplish any major project in his seven years as head of the Authority. (He even failed to complete the redevelopment of Dana Strand even though the prior administration relocated the tenants and demolished the buildings.) He seems to have refused to collaborate with other City departments to meet the City’s low-income housing needs. He reportedly wrongfully terminated employees and amassed huge legal bills and wrongful termination settlements that are sealed from public view. He even fired his internal auditor because the auditor found reasons to investigate Montial. Why? We’ll never know. Montiel paid his auditor off with HACLA money and sealed the record. Here’s an investigation worthy of Channel 2 and Wendy Gruel: How much tax-payer has Montiel spent on legal bills and settlements?

    It appears his was a tenure of blame rather than accomplishment.

    While media reports did include Montiel charging the Authority $30,000 for a security system in his home and his retaliating against tenants for protesting, they did not report Montiel’s complicity in the travel abuses. ALL travel is approved by Montiel. There is a two-step process: First, a request for travel is approved and signed by Montiel which produces the per diem money. Second, after the travel, invoices are reconciled and reimbursements are authorized and signed by Montiel. Montiel was aware of each and every travel authorization. This means, in every case, he approved the double-dipping where individuals were paid per diem and for submitted invoices. In a approving the payments, he also approved the hotels, restaurants and conferences. It is curious that the Channel 2 “investigation” missed this aspect, instead giving voice to Montiel’s accusations regarding the Board’s motivation. And why did Channel 2’s “investigation” fail to dig any deeper than what Montiel probably provided them? Could this be because Montiel fed Channel 2 the travel information in an attempt to divert attention from the real reasons for his termination? Is it possible that Montiel leaked the travel abuses to the media to set himself up as a whistleblower victim because he knew the Board and City Hall were investigating him? And why, if Channel 2 is so interested in travel at the tax payers’ expense, didn’t Channel 2 investigate Montiel’s own travel? That would have been an astonishing investigation. The Bell officials who fleeced the taxpayers, at least, spent their time at work in Bell. Montiel reportedly spent his time visiting family in Texas at HACLA’s expense.

    The Mayor supports the Board’s firing Montiel. The Mayor knows the many reasons well and knows that this is not retaliation. In fact, the causes are so compelling that the Board did the right thing even though they had to know that Montiel would accuse them of retaliation.

  15. Nickerson says:

    The unjust firings, not only did Montiel agree to these firing, but the Commissioners had the final say so in them. so they all are wrong, unjust, and just cruel.

  16. Nickerson says:

    I was wrote a letter to the Chair of the Commissioners asking what it was exactly they do, what are there dutiies, she just flat out ignored me. As if to say it is none of your business.

  17. Nickerson says:

    There have been a whole lot of not doing. You worried about the redevelopment of Jordan Downs, but Nickerson is also part of the redevelopment bill AB1641 mandated by the state. Housing has not been making revelopment plans for Nickerson the way they have been for Jordan.

    Nickerson is under that same $5 billion.

  18. Nickerson says:

    Rudolph Montiel isn’t the only one who needs firing from the Housing Authority, everyone at 2600 Wilshire needs to go, because of the way they handle business. Try to strong arm, what they consider little people, the residents. They think that just because we are residents of public housing, that we are stupid.
    All need to go.

  19. Monalsa Liz-ardo says:

    How about putting term limits on these jobs? Most of these jobs are gotten by who knows who anyways. No degrees are needed. Most are mistresses and relatives of the status quo holders. Fire them all and install time limits to most positions. Then there’s less time for tribal warfare and institutional corruption. Sounds simple? Just think about it.

  20. HACLAN says:

    Now they need to get rid of the other rats at HACLA: Sanford Riggs, Patrice McConnell, Caroline Chung. John King,( Robert Ayala and Gigi Gillings

  21. HACLAN says:

    I forget to mentioned the biggest remaining rat at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, Ken Simmons, the Interim President & CEO, needs to go! He was involved with expensive meals and trips scandal at Housing Authority, while earning over $225,000 a year from the Housing Authority. When the new President and CEO is appointed, he or she, should clean the house of these rats!

  22. Burkey Devitt says:

    Ken Simmons is “interim President and CEO”?!!
    Like someone above said–since when do public agencies have CEO’s?

    Sounds like that whole department could use some housecleaning. And this 1.2 million is an outrage. It sounds like Montiel grabbed the opportunity to paint himself a whistleblower. I personally have great respect for whistleblowers, but it sounds like he’s not one–he’s just f.o.s.
    That’s our money, CBS and L.A. ….How bout a follow-up story, CBS, because this one leaves more questions than it answers!

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