The City of Industry recently renovated a 5,500-square-foot house at a cost of $450,000 to taxpayers, and is renting the home to the city’s mayor for just $700 a month.
A similar property in nearby communities would fetch six times as much, according to the Orange County Register, which also noted that at the subsidized rent rate, it will take the city 53 years to recoup the cost of the renovations.
Jessica Levinson, a professor of law at Loyola Law School and president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission said the arraignment seems “wildly inappropriate,” and added, “If the city spends money on an investment, then they owe it to the taxpayers to obtain fair-market value as a return on that investment.”
In the City of Industry, approximately half of the housing supply is owned by the city, but there are very few safeguards governing how the city rents the properties. A housing board appointed by the City Council approved Mayor Mark Radecki’s wife as a tenant before the renovations were complete. The listing was never advertised to the public, nor was there a requirement that the Radeckis fill out an application.
Most of the beneficiaries of the city’s property are City Council members, their family members and friends, the Register reported. None of the tenants pays more than $700 a month, a price unchanged since the 1990s. An investigation by the Southern California News Group in 2016 found the city could owe millions in back taxes because the subsidy may qualify as an employee benefit.
Earlier this year, the City Council fired its reform monitor and a lawyer hired to assist with housing reforms. The city’s housing program had a $533,175 deficit last year and expects to lose another $450,000 in the next fiscal year. (Source: Orange County Register, June 24.)