Goldstein: LA Housing Authority Commissioner Under Investigation

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — In a new CBS 2 Investigation, David Goldstein reports on allegations involving an LA Housing Authority Commissioner involving a possible conflict of interest with her position. 

Beatriz Stotzer is the chairperson of the Board of Commissioners of the LA Housing Authority.

A public agency that controls a $1 billion budget. Mostly federal taxpayer money used for public housing and low income subsidies.

CBS 2 News has learned the city attorney’s office is looking into whether Stotzer violated the authority’s conflict of interest policy. It’s something the commissioner doesn’t want to talk about.

“Is there an inquiry ongoing?” Goldstein asked Stotzer.

“I have no comment,” the Councillor replied.

The investigation centers on these checks — obtained by CBS 2 News — they’re issued by the same housing authority Stotzer oversees and are for $400 – $600/month.

We found rent checks totaling $18,778 in federal taxpayer money over the past two years. There could be more. The checks are made out to a company called West Valley Hart. To subsidize low income housing in this apartment building in Canoga Park.

One of the general partners of West Valley Hart is West Valley Community Development Corporation. Which, according to the IRS, lists Beatriz Stotzer as president.

The authority’s conflict of interest policy states, “No employee shall knowingly own property that is …subsidized by the authority” though it’s unclear if commissioners fall under that policy.

Is this a conflict of interest?

“I have no coment and I look forward to the audit that the controller is going to be conducting on behalf of the agency and the commission. I have no other comment regarding that,” said Stotzer

City Controller Wendy Gruel “is” conducting an audit of the Housing Authority, but so far only the travel expenditures. That was prompted by our investigation last February. Now she hope to conduct a complete audit — which could answer the question of conflict of interest.

“I think that’s what an audit would look at. How do they deal with conflicts of interest? What kind of instruction has been given to commissioners on what they can and cannot do,” said Gruel.

Stotzer’s lawyer claims his client notified the city attorney and there is no conflict because the building is not in her name.

“She’s disclosed things to the city attorney. I don’t think she’s hiding anything and the fact that I’m giving you this interview today indicates she’s not hiding anything,” her attorney said.

But Bob Stern, the former chief counsel for the California Fair Political Practices Commission, says even the appearance of a conflict could be a problem.
When you’re a commissioner of housing you want to make sure that you have no legal conflicts or even ethical conflicts and there are some questions being raised here.

It’s right now in the hands of the city attorney. But because that agency also advises the Housing Authority on legal matters, there could be a conflict. Ultimately, it could be decided by the City’s Ethics Commission, or the Attorney General’s Office.

David Goldstein, CBS 2 News

  • Karen

    Bravo to the person who found out that this woman was the president of the general partner of the entity that actually owns this building.

    It’s really hard to argue AGAINST facts and Stotzer has some explaining to do.

    Her being the president is key to the argument of a conflict of interest and because I am tired of the government in this state ROBBING US BLIND, I am writing to the city attorney and the others mentioned because this Beatriz Stotzer needs to step down.

    • Housing Authority Watchdog

      Please tell them Stotzer is violating the Code of Federal Regulations Section 982.161 Conflict of interest as they apparently can not figure it out.

  • Barnum and Bailey circus

    ‘LA Housing Authority wins $1.9 million judgment from former consultant’–
    “We are pleased with the judgment and hope that it sends a strong message that we will not tolerate dishonest acts,” said HACLA Board of Commissioners chairwoman Beatriz Stotzer.
    Looks like her words came back to bite her. Why do CA politicians think they are above the law? I’d be interested to find out what is hiding in Boxers, Feinsteins, Waxman and Jerry Browns Closet. Thruth shall always prevail….

  • Ed

    Is there a requirement to be absolutely corrupt in order to hold these government positions?

  • rjjrdq

    what about all the illegals getting subsidized housing. anybody checking that out? Didn’t think so.

    • Dan

      You know why all the illegals are getting subsidzed housing, do that the Housing Authority can have an easy reason to legally tear down the buildings.

  • Victor

    I feel sorry for the tenants and employees.

  • Housing Authority Watchdog

    Stotzer’s attorney says there is no conflict of interest because the property is not in her name and the matter was disclosed. Fire your attorney Ms. Stotzer because he has given you bad advice. Housing Authority Commissioners are bound by the Code of Federal Regulations. Google Section 982.161 Conflict of interest. 1, 2 and 3 definitely apply to Bea Stotzer. And check the date of her disclosure. I’m sure you will find it was submitted in 2l010 after her tenants exposed her as a slum lord. What about the prior years Ms. Stotzer?

  • Ron

    Another example of our taxpayer money being abused by those in power. Do they really think we are stupid? No conflict? She is the President of a development company, that is one of the general partners. She doesn’t deserve the typical slap on the hands. She must be REMOVED from her position and FIRED. I do not want anyone on a commission, that gives away my tax money, that can’t or won’t respect the ethics involved with the position. And any government official that violates ethics or the law should lose their government pension. That would sure give them some pause before committing this type of action.

  • Nickerson

    They are not going to remove any of the Commissioners., what they are going to do is try and hurt the ones that outted them, so that the RAC and RMC’s can not speak for the residents.

  • Dan

    At the recent (April 27, 2011) Leadership training, two of the Commissioners were there to explain their actions. And basically all they did was anger the resident leaders who were there, because of the way they were explaing things which all they really did was lay all blame on Rudy Montiel. Nothing got fix only worsened.

  • Friends oF Justice

    Didnt this woman do the same thing by trying to fraudently rip off her dead mother and disabled vet brother a few years ago? Check out probate court files under the LA County Supreme Court AND the State Supreme Court. Even the State Court stated in their decision that her testimony was questionable and she was NOT considered a credible witness. Apparently, she forged a notary public’s signature on her own dead mother’s will…… there’s a paper trail and lots of clues following her and she can’t hide any longer. I hope all the poor people that have been hurt by her find justice…

  • Monalsa Liz-ardo

    I suspect the HA scammers are give the housing units to their friends, relatives and associates to live low-rent while the official records show the legit applicants names are living there. In other words, it is a form of IDENTITY THEFT, the real applicants don’t know their slot is taken by these HA personnel’s friends and living in units that suppose to go to them. Every year on file applicants go into the office to confirm that they are eligible for low-cost section 8 vouchers or low cost housing and every year they are told to wait longer or they are on the waiting lists. This is why the applicants wait for YEARS and may never get the vouchers and some of them have to move and start all over at the new HA. Some anti-corruption audits should be in place.

    • Dan

      Remeber 2 to 3 years ago, there came on the news about people that worked for Housing Authority were stealing the applicants person information. Which I now think all the questions about social security, id’s and whatever personal information is suspect, exspecially when Housing Authority is the ones asking for it. None of those SOB’s are right, they are all corrupted. So Identity theft is all entirely possible.

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