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L.A. housing authority board fires CEO Montiel

March 21, 2011 | 10:17 pm

Members of L.A.'s housing authority board voted Monday evening to fire the agency’s chief executive, Rudolf Montiel.

The move comes less than six months after Montiel faced the wrath of city leaders over his agency’s move to evict nine tenants who had protested housing authority policies at Montiel’s Rancho Cucamonga home.

At the time, City Council members called Montiel, who has headed the $1-billion-a-year agency since 2004, “childlike” and accused him of acting like “Big Brother.” The eviction notices were later rescinded.

The termination also follows Montiel’s decision earlier this month to ask board members to reimburse thousands of dollars in travel expenses submitted without authorization, receipts or in “double-dipped” costs.

Commissioners took per diems for travel expenses but also charged meals, sometimes extravagant ones including disallowed alcoholic drinks, to their agency credit cards, according to a CBS-TV Channel 2 report in February. The commissioners reported spending more than $150,000 over the last two years on travel and food, the station reported.

During the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting, Montiel listened as tenants and agency employees alternately castigated and praised him. When commissioners went into closed session to discuss his performance, he left, saying as he stepped into an elevator that his anticipated firing “has an air of retribution and retaliation.”

The board gave few specifics about the reasons for the decision, but Commissioner Rayman Mathoda and Patricia Glaser, a lawyer for the commission, said that over the last year the panel had lost confidence in Montiel’s judgment.

RELATED:

Housing authority ends plans to evict protesters

L.A. housing chief hailed by some, assailed by others

Housing Authority board to review CEO's performance

-- Jessica Garrison

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