Corruption in the Housing Authority

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.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Politics stories on LA Observed:
David Ryu and candidate Mike Fong
Tronc buys (NY) Daily News, La Tuna fire aftermath and more
Helping in Houston, new lion cubs, Garcetti's back
Garcetti has weekend date in the Hamptons
Garcetti hitting the road to New Hampshire
LA Confederate monument coming down
LA Observed Notes: Back from vacation and into the fray
Rendon fights for neglected Southeast


LA Observed on Twitter