Crime & Justice

LA Housing Authority wins $1.9 million judgment from former consultant

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles won a $1.9 million default judgment against a former consultant who billed for services he did not provide, the agency announced today.

"We are pleased with the judgment and hope that it sends a strong message that we will not tolerate dishonest acts," said HACLA Board of Commissioners chairwoman Beatriz Stotzer.

The judgment was signed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kenneth R. Freeman after Dwayne E. Williams failed to participate in a lawsuit HACLA filed against him and others in 2006.

Williams' contracts were approved under the leadership of former HACLA executives Donald Smith and Lucille Loyce, according to the lawsuit. Smith and Loyce were previously found liable for mismanaging federal funds and ordered in 2008 to repay HACLA $528,000.

The suit also claimed Loyce steered millions of dollars to Williams, a friend of hers, for consulting work. Williams was contracted to provide resident training for resident management corporations at multiple public housing developments, according to the suit.

"Our agency has a zero-tolerance policy that we are committed to enforcing," said HACLA president and chief executive officer Rudolf C. Montiel. "Anyone suspected of unethical behavior and conflicts of interest will be investigated.

"The funds this agency receives is meant to help our low income families and it is unacceptable that the former leadership of the agency betrayed the trust of those we serve."