We told you it was happening, and now it has. The cash-strapped city of L.A., which is having trouble hiring cops and keeping fire stations manned, is officially giving billionaire El Broad $52 million for a parking lot.

You heard it right. The L.A. City Council approved the deal this week. Of course, there are details that help public officials deflect the reality of of the situation.

Like the fact that the cash is coming from a separate fund — from the controversial Community Redevelopment Agency, which is supposed to help redevelop blighted properties (not rich guys who want to house their art collections with the aid of your dollars).

Still, it's a bit of a boondoggle, innit?

Gov. Jerry Brown has been attempting to seize CRA money across the state for precisely this reason — that it's being misused.

Broad is building a museum as part of downtown's Grand Avenue redevelopment project. His venue would house his multimillion-dollar art collection. [Added]: Actually we're told a large segment of the building will be used for Broad's private foundation — only a portion of it will be open to the public. (Even better).

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl wants to make sure no “general fund” city money goes to the project.

“The fact is the city is broke,” he said, according to the Daily News. “We need to make sure that this will not be costing us anything.”

Downtown city Councilwoman Jan Perry, who appears to us to be quite adept at giving public money to rich guys, was, of course, all for it, saying the 370-space garage would be paid for out of Bunker Hill Redevelopment Project funds.

Read our original piece on Broad's grab for public cash and Jerry Brown's attempt to seize CRA money statewide here.

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