Sons Of LA Housing Commissioner Getting Preferential Treatment?

By David Goldstein

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A CBS2 News investigation has uncovered the sons of an L.A. City Housing commissioner living in an apartment complex that hundreds of low-income families are waiting to get into.

Dawn Osler is 6-months pregnant and looking for a home. Her friend Tenetra Hughes was just laid off from her job as a teacher’s aide with LAUSD and now she can’t afford her rent.

“I really need to get in here,” Hughes said.

They have both picked up applications for apartments at Tierra del Sol, a low income affordable housing project in Canoga Park. Rents there are as low as $331 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, depending on your income.

But there were no vacancies.

“They said the waiting list is about 1,700 people on the list. It’s from six months to a year,” Osler said.

While 1,700 of L.A.’s neediest families are waiting to get in, we found one apartment rented by a man, who drives a Mercedes, traveled to Paris and Rome. He is the son of Beatriz Stotzer, the board president of New Economics for Women, the non-profit organization that built Tierra del Sol with millions of dollars of taxpayer-guaranteed loans.

Stotzer has also been appointed by the mayor as a commissioner and serves as a chairperson of the Housing Authority of the City of L.A.

Not only does her 26-year-old son, Antonio, live in one of the units, but her 30-year-old son, Nicholas, lives in another.

“I think it clearly looks bad. It sends the wrong message,” said Councilman Dennis Zine.

He is intimately familiar with Tierra del Sol — a community center in his name is part of the complex. But he said he did not know that two of the apartments were taken up by the developer’s sons.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it. I just don’t think that’s what it was built for,” Zine said.

He said Tierra del Sol was proposed to him as a development for low income families. It even includes a school.

In fact New Economics website claims it creates economic and educational opportunities for single parents and families.

Antonio, who works for a video production company, is single and lives alone. Nicholas, whose Facebook page says he is an associate pastor, is married with no children.

“Should developer’s family members be allowed to move into city-funded buildings like this?” I asked Zine.

“I don’t know what the rules are regarding this, but on the surface, it creates a lot of questions,” he said.

The mayor, who appointed Stotzer to the Housing Authority, echoed the thoughts.

“Questions have to be asked on the circumstances and they are going to have to be answered as well,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

Over the past three months, attorneys for Stotzer’s organizations showed me rental applications, waiting lists and other documents.

They refused to provide copies, but the documents showed the sons’ incomes to be low enough to qualify for the apartments and the organization said they followed all procedures in admitting them off the waiting lists.

But Sarai James has a different story.

“He never showed up on the waiting list,” James said.

She was the former manager at Tierra del Sol. James claims she was told to rent an apartment to Antonio Stotzer in 2006. The rent was just $326 a month.

David Goldstein: “Was Antonio on the waiting list?”

Sarai James: “No, he wasn’t.”

David Goldstein: “He wasn’t and there were other families on the waiting list at the time?”

Sarai James: “Yes.”

David Goldstein: “So he moved ahead of other families?”

Sarai James: “Yes.”

James admitted she was fired, claiming it was for being pregnant. But Stotzer’s attorney said her story is all wrong.

“They didn’t cut in line. No special favors were given. No strings were pulled,” said Stotzer’s attorney Stanley Friedman.

“Do you think it’s appropriate living in that house. In Tierra del Sol. There are all families in there?” I asked Antonio Stotzer.

He didn’t answer questions. Neither did his mother.

“Did they qualify as low-income residents commissioner?” I asked Beatriz Stotzer

“I have no further comment,” she said.

Or his father…

“I appreciate your job David. But we tried to be nice to you. You’re not a nice person. You’re not a nice man,” he said.

In a written statement, Mrs. Stotzer said, “There was no preferential treatment given to my two adult sons who were financially independent of me at the time that they applied for and ultimately qualified for affordable housing.”

But Councilman Zine said that he will investigate to see how someone, who vacationed in Paris and Rome, and drives a Mercedes is living there, instead of Dawn Osler who is hoping for a better life.

“I got to be thankful for whatever comes my way,” Osler said.

Two following are two statements provided to CBS2 News from Beatriz Stotzer’s attorneys:

Over the last several weeks, information has been gathered and provided to KCBS and its reporter, David Goldstein on a voluntary basis in regard to my two adult sons and others. Because this information does not pertain to me and involves confidential private information of others it was necessary to first obtain waivers by these other individuals before such information could be disclosed. By voluntarily undertaking such efforts and disclosing such information, I have done my best to show that there was no preferential treatment given to my two adult sons who were financially independent of me at the time that they applied for and ultimately qualified for affordable housing. Because all rules and regulations were complied with, I did not benefit in any manner from my sons’ application to or acceptance into affordable housing and no preference was given to them, both I, and my attorney believe that there was nothing improper. Also, to the extent that my sons were independent of me and the issues involve private matters such as income level, I ask that their privacy, and the privacy of others, be respected by KCBS in its reporting.

You should be aware that the Tierra de Sol Apartments were built as affordable housing. There are limitations on the size of the household per unit size. The limitations on the appropriate household size will not allow a large family to occupy a one-bedroom unit. A one bedroom would not be occupied by a large family as you claim. The tenancies of both Antonio Stotzer and Nicholas Stotzer comply with the intended purpose of this affordable housing project given the household size of the applicants.

More from David Goldstein
  • AJ Morgan


    • icecream

      Shamelessly rotten to the core.

  • Eugene Hernandez

    thank you David Goldstein for this investigative report. IThe L.A.Housing Authority has had a history of corruption going back decades, it seems every commission or Director appointed by the Mayor winds up giving special favor to firends, using their position to make money at taxpayers expense and the 10,000 + homeless and thousands and thousands of truely needy famiiles are either cheated our of housing or the Housing Authority lose money in grants they should have qualified. Why do we have so many empy housing caused by the foreclosure and mortgage crisis and yet so few people to qualify or have to wait so many years to get housing? Mayor Villaraigosa shoud immediately fire Ms. Stolzer and the DA should indict her sons and her for committing fraud. Thank you David Goldsten and Channel 2 News

  • alg

    there is something going on here. I hope the councilman Zine investigates this along with all of the media.
    This is all about skirting around the rules. this is all about entitlement. Those who believe they are entitled.
    There is an arrogance here that needs to be handled by our illustrious mayor., and the city council.

    • ObserverMI

      Dennis Zine… just don’t expect ‘Him’ to have this investigated. By his statements and his past record, he’s a political hack blow hard just like most all the rest. He was even being politically correct about the two sons… he’s just not one to trust.

      Agree wholly with your comments however, just commenting on the part of Zine.

  • Regg

    Went to school with Nick …. crazy!

  • FTBroadnax

    This article refuses to let me post a comment. Apparently they don’t want the truth to be known.

  • Tyndon Clusters

    Brilliant report. Just so typical of the rampant corruption by both left and right wingers today.

  • icecream

    If this lying, opportunistic tramp….I mean “commissioner” was sincere, she would not need an ambulance-chasing esquire to answer the questions for her.
    Well Antonio, is looks like you $crewed up again…and again….and again……..

    • icecream

      David Goldstein: Thank you for your awesome, thorough investigative reporting of the city’s gross mis-management.
      Keep up the great work – Hold them ALL to answer.

      • FTBroadnax

        These people are lying through their teeth. Come on, trips to Paris and Rome and a luxury car? Get real, they can’t afford housing but can afford luxury vacations and cars… something is seriously wrong with this picture.

  • sheri

    please continue with this investigation & report on the status. if this woman used her position improperly to obtain apartments for her two sons that they do not qualify for, she should be forced to resign her job with the new economics for women as well as her seat on the housing authority. if she has done nothing wrong, that should be reported so she has a chance to clear her name. i hope that the district attorney, dennis zine & david goldstein do not drop the ball on this matter.

    • Erik

      Most of city employee are same way, if they hire or prompt and employee they will hire their relative first and prompt whom they know.

  • Joe

    Wonder if they have a “gold card” to take of there tickets also.

    • icecream

      And cell phones with city cars to drive !!!

  • Gidzmo

    Let’s see if anyone is held really accountable for this. Look at what happened when the misuse of city cars was reported on–someone was held accountable and the rules (hopefully) will be changed.

  • Monalsa Liz-ardo

    gov Brown is right about redevelopment agencies. Section 8 low income housing funding comes from redevelopment part of the city. Connect the dots and you will see that scammers work in the housing authority are just using public funds for their own purposes. The low income housing/ vouchers are given to their friends and relatives first, then others who bride their ways into it or their own favorite group. Legit applicants wait for YEARS. Just how are they able to wait for years when they are eligible and need the housing now?!

  • Liz M.

    Please stay on top of this and apply pressure however way you can. I’m getting sick of government corruption. Yes, this is corrupt behavior. No family member should benefit directly from a project or program that a city, county or state employee oversees.

  • Meyer Lansky

    Over the years, David Goldstein has shown an inordinate amount of prejudice towards Latino’s. While Latino’s are always an easy mark from someone who is employed by a company with hardly any peoplke of color on their broadcasts, it really doesn’t come as a shock to see Goldstein paint a picture of corruption when it comes to minorities. Maybe Goldstein should put a bit of effort into investigating the vast amount of criminalily perpertrated by middel aged, rich white males. But then again, seeing how Goldstein is a charter membert of that exclusive club, Latino’s will not hold their breath.

    • MadCatter

      I agree! I’m all for rooting out corruption, but David, why not follow the heads of Goldman Sachs and CitiBank around? I’m tired of the vilification of city employees just so that all the jealous people who work for corporate sharks get their red meat for the day. City employees work hard, and there will always be folks who take advantage of the system. But it seems you take pleasure in going after public employees. Go after the corporations David!

  • Mike

    Thank you Mr. Goldstein for this report. This is ridiculous. Please continue to inform the tax payers how corrupt city officials truly are. I certainly hope citizens wake up and work to remove these idiots from their positions.

  • Jeff

    I found this report to be incredibly biased and one-sided. I have known the Stotzer family for years and have always known them to be honest, hardworking people of integrity. Please obtain and broadcast BOTH sides of the story in the future. Thank you…

    • becky

      Jeff, biased? really? obviosly you don’t know her well enough right. Yeah specially her son who claims to be a Pastor, where is his honesty? riding the system for personal gain is a damb shame. She spent federal dollars at Forever 21? what justification can she have for this purchase? really don’t put your hand in the fire for her your likely to get BURNED!!!!

  • Holly

    Oh PLEASE, someone boot these guys out of these apartments! This is such a joke on all the people who really need those apartments, and have been waiting on a long, long list.
    I hope the City Councilman will do something. However, I doubt it. They’re all so corrupt in that Council….money in their pockets buys their decisions and votes. Gee…something like our U.S. Congress!

  • rick

    Shameless, hypocrite…that woman…

  • Dan

    Stotzer I suprised is not doing what she didn’t in Leadership training, which was basically blame everything on Montiel. The Housing Authority are the ones who have the final say so on Housing Authority matters (trips, pay, firings). And some of the firings are very questionable.

  • Friends oF Justice

    Everyone should know that her son Nick has always lived at the NEW apartments, from the time he left school, and always went ahead of the waiting lists. He first lived in East LA then moved to the Valley when the Canoga Park development was completed. In one way or another, NEW has employed Nick and then Tony when he got older, and the Executive Director Maggie Cervantes knew what was going on the whole time. SO, does Beatriz really believe that everyone is going to fall for the “story” that her sons are low-income???? Someone should be contacting the IRS, too, because there’s plenty of paper trails pointing to the fraud.

  • Niema Curley

    Stotzer is a lying, unethical, greedy thief and thinks she can not be touched. The Mayor’s office can not protect you from HUD OIG “Bea”. Game over…let the Housing Authority get back to doing what it is supposed to do…provide safe and sanitary housing.

    • Becky

      Great news Stotzer resigned today. Now time to clean house. We will continue to put pressure on the Mayor to remove maria del angel, who is the biggest thief of them all.

    • Erik

      may be she is related to Mayor that is why he defends a Thief

  • elliot mess

    the woman is just lying. i hope she gets fired

  • ObserverMI

    David…. You are one of the BEST yet also one of the ONLY to do such GREAT reporting! You don’t just ‘parrot’ what the political hacks and others say, you INVESTIGATE and it’s GREATLY Appreciated!

    Sleep WELL David, cause your doing GREAT work, unlike 99% of the parrot reporters.

  • Power to the People

    I used to work at New Economics For Women. I always suspected corruption but regrettably never said anything.

  • Power to the People

    How can New Capital Property Managers live in the New Capital Low Income Housing Properties. They make a competitive salary.

  • Aaren

    I suspect property managers live in the apartment complexes because they only earn about $8-$10 an hour and no rent. However, it is somewhat of a 24/7/365 job which completely sucks.

    Ultimately, the individuals paying aside from tax payer’s and the IRS are the families living there. The housing authority probably has not taken many of the past complaints seriously. Property management utilizes fear and authoritarian rules in order to keep families from receiving correct treatment. You have many people living in their apartments and are not able to receive parking permits and must park their cars outside while there is plenty of parking inside their underground garages. I believe they might get write offs or tax incentives by having parking spaces vacant and unused.

    Also, how is it that the housing authority allows property management to threaten to evict families if they do not participate in social programs which are not tied in to their rent and income limits?

    at the end, it is the families that live there that struggle the most. They are required to talk to a case manager and with the turn over ratio, those families speak to 3 to 4 case managers a year. That is awful, how can a family trust and confide in any case manager that may leave in a few months.

    NEW and NEWCAP have the potential to do so much but are falling short. However, they will illustrate and promote their few successes and not show their many failures. For organizations that promote wealth building and holistic approaches, their property management and NEW & NEWCAP management do not hesitate to evict families and fire employees without cause. NEW & NEWCAP believe they are different from other corporations and organizations, yet elect to have at will employment to fire people as they please. Bea and Maggie also know how much a family of four should make a year in order to not fall under the poverty level, yet most of their employees do not make even half of that. Then they hire “vendors” in order to hide money or wash their hands and take advantage by not allowing them to have breaks or lunch time and human resources knows this or should know this.

    It is all about perception… just as investment banks and the US financial system is based on perception, so is NEW & NEWCAP. If everything appears good and looks good then people will continue to give money. But, when people look deep into their books just as 2008 when Lehman brothers came down, Bear Stearns and AIG (almost), their books were all over the place but the perception was good and people kept investing. People keep investing in NEW & NEWCAP, but look into their books and not just their word and their perception.

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