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Above the Law

Rudy Montiel and $400 Lunches: KCET Follows Shocking Money Trail of Recently Canned Chief of L.A. Housing Authority, And Others

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Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM
Updated after the jump: SoCal Connected Executive Producer weighs in on early feedback, possible government reactions.

click to enlarge Yummy, taxpayer dollars are so tender and juicy.
  • Yummy, taxpayer dollars are so tender and juicy.
The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) is a billion dollar agency responsible for providing shelter for L.A.'s most vulnerable residents - and as uncovered by KCET's SoCal Connected: also responsible for using taxpayer dollars on yummy $400 lunches and lavish shopping sprees.

That's just the teaser -- tomorrow SoCal Connected will be reporting what they uncovered after six months of document scouring:

Rudolf Montiel, who enjoyed his position as Chief Executive of the Housing Authority a bit too much, was fired Monday night amidst these and other allegations.

"Show me the Money...The Junketeer," this week's SoCal Connected episode, takes a look at what Montiel enjoyed at taxpayer expense while receiving an employment package worth $450,000 plus bonuses.

Wow, he must have been having some FUN. And, they say, he was not alone.

With Laurel Erickson reporting, this has the promise of being juicy: she has been a familiar face on L.A. news for over three decades -- and not the face you want to see if you have something to hide. Erickson plays hard-ball.

Here she will bring to light years of abuse, waste and fraud: all the things L.A. can't afford now, more than ever, in it's $47 million deficit.

SoCal Connected is going to show us the money trail. Where is public money that is supposed to be helping L.A.'s poorest people being spent?

According to SoCal Connected:

At the center of the controversy is the housing agency's chief executive, Rudolf "Rudy" Montiel, just relieved of his job and put on administrative leave, who received an employment package worth $450,000 with bonuses.

Our exclusive investigation talks with insiders who describe Montiel as a man prone to paranoia, who managed the agency by using fear as a weapon. That management style seems to be costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits as you will see in our story.

When we spoke to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), senior member of the Committee on Finance, about our investigation into Rudy Montiel, Grassley told SoCal Connected,"How outrageous that is...He's probably doing better than a drug kingpin."

Update: Bret Marcus, Executive Producer for SoCal Connected, and Senior Vice President of KCET tells L.A. Weekly that the expose is already getting significant reactions: "This week's edition of "Show Me The Money" -- which we're calling the Junketeer --has already gotten reaction from Washington. The ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee -- Chuck Grassley --has just directed HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] to begin an investigation into the Los Angeles Housing Authority, which will no doubt include Rudy Monteil's compensation package as well as spending by the HACLA staff."

Here's the preview of what will air on KCET tomorrow at 6:30p.m. and 9:30p.m:

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Contact Mars Melnicoff at mmelnicoff@laweekly.com / follow @marsmelnicoff

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