Big weekend story in the LAT — a solid gotcha:
L.A. official steered work to relatives
Nearly $800,000 in contracts, often with inflated prices, went to family and firms with political ties, data show.
By Ted Rohrlich and Jessica Garrison, Times Staff Writers
A high-level manager for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles directed nearly $800,000 in contracts to his brothers and three politically connected firms without competitive bidding or after rigged contests, a Times review has found.
The manager, Victor Taracena, oversaw more than 150 contracts worth about half a million dollars that went directly to companies his brothers created, contract files show.
Seven other contracts worth $289,000 were awarded to non-family firms, two of which had little or no expertise in the work they were hired to do.
These firms — all with ties to current or former Los Angeles City Council members from the Eastside — won their contracts in bidding processes fraught with irregularities. In one case, a losing bid was submitted by a nonexistent company. Other such bids came from actual companies which, when contacted by The Times, said they were surprised to learn that bids had been submitted in their names.
Taracena has been fired but his attorney denies any wrongdoing.