News of a settlement in the momentous lawsuit brought by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles on behalf of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the LA Catholic Worker, and a number of individuals over the confiscation of homeless people’s property by BID and by City, has been rumbling around PACER for about one year now. Well, yesterday evening, the first concrete details of the ongoing settlement process arrived. The parties filed a joint report indicating that concrete terms had been reached with both CCEA and the City of Los Angeles. The City of LA part still has to be approved by City Council, but according to the document, this is likely to happen within 45 days.
I submitted evidence of three violations, although there were clearly many others. They tagged her for two of them. She admitted that she’d broken the law, but gave as an exceedingly lame excuse that… well, let the CEC tell it:
Rumsey received inaccurate legal advice from CCA’s former legal counsel and mistakenly believed that she could attempt to influence any City agency except Councilmember O’Farrell’s office.
Because of this and because of her cooperation, CEC staff is recommending leniency:
The maximum administrative penalty for a violation of the City’s post-employment laws is the greater of $5,000 or three times the amount of compensation that was improperly received. Los Angeles City Charter § 706(c)(3). In this case, the two counts against Rumsey result in a maximum penalty of $14,250. We recommend a penalty of $7,125, which is equal to 50 percent of the maximum in this case. We believe the recommended penalty is appropriate, because it takes into consideration the serious nature of the violations while also encouraging cooperation with Ethics Commission investigations and the early resolution of violations.
How does the City of Los Angeles decide which homeless encampments to target for cleanup? How do they decide when to target them? Well, if these two email chains from City Council District 13 about encampment-breaking on Vermont Avenue and Marathon Street in Koreatown are any indication (one and two) they target them when non-homeless people call CD13 and tell them to clean out the homeless people.1 And what do they get out of targeting them? Well, they’re politically savvy enough to turn down free lunches offered in exchange for their dirty work, but they will accept an offer of bused-in political supporters to astroturf the public comments section of a Council meeting. First let’s look at the players involved.
Bryan Kim is a partner in Koreatown based property management company Kim and Casey, which doesn’t seem to have a website.2 They do, however, have a Yelp page. This is notable for having uniformly one star reviews, which include comments like:3
They would tell me I was picky about the filth they’d promised to clean up before I moved in but never took care of it. They wouldn’t accept responsibility and blamed everyone and everything else until they were legally forced to take control of the growing sludge and cesspool that had been forming for I don’t know how many weeks .
Or, even more colorfully:
I had my sink drain burst and when I asked them to fix it they said “NO”. The reason they gave me was that I had a bathroom sink to use and I dint really need the one in my kitchen. … What kind of management company is this? Also, one day as I was looking out my window, I saw one of the three guys who were walking the property from Kim and Casey Kick my neighbors cat at he was walking down the path way. It was the middle aged guy of the three that were walking the property. I don’t know his name and don’t care to know such a scumbag.
Recall that last month Judge Otero issued a preliminary injunction forbidding the City of Los Angeles from confiscating the property of homeless people in and/or around Skid Row without following required due process. Today the City filed a motion asking Otero to clarify what he meant. They also filed a proposed order for the Judge’s signature which, I imagine, is mostly of value here as it shows what the City wishes the injunction means.
On April 5, 2016 the City of Los Angeles, defendant in Mitchell v. Los Angeles, the latest homeless-rights lawsuit to come off the line at Carol Sobel‘s magic workshop, filed a motion to dismiss, staking their position on the seemingly (even to me, who knows little to nothing about the legal issues at stake) very thin grounds that they had the right to destroy whatever they wanted to because they passed a law saying that they did.1
Judge James Otero just today issued an order granting an injunction prohibiting the City of Los Angeles from confiscating the property of homeless people living on Skid Row without following a detailed procedure meant to protect their property rights. In order to grant this order, Otero had to find that the claims of the plaintiffs against the City were likely to succeed, and this he did. In particular, he analyzed the evidence that the City submitted in opposition to the request for a restraining order and stated unequivocally that “The counterevidence submitted by Defendants, including the videos, are at best inconclusive.” This strikes my (uninformed) eye as a fairly bad start to the City’s defense of this case, which is a fairly good omen for justice, fairness, and humanity in this City of Angels.
Recall that on April 1, the plaintiffs in Mitchell v. Los Angeles asked the court to enjoin the City from confiscating the plaintiffs’ property while the case was pending. Today the City filed its opposition to this application. The pleading pulls no punches:
Defendant City of Los Angeles hereby opposes the Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order. The grounds for the opposition are that the Plaintiffs have misrepresented the facts which led to the destruction of their property, there is no widespread practice violating federal law which requires enjoining, and there is no urgency justifying ex parte relief.
Further, should the Court deem it appropriate, the City requests that the Court set a Rule 11 briefing to determine an appropriate amount of sanctions against Plaintiffs and their counsel, jointly and severally, for submitting factual contentions which have no evidentiary support. In the alternative, the City requests that the Court set said hearing at least against Plaintiffs Escobedo and Roque and their counsel, jointly and severally.
The relevant part of Rule 11 seems to be:
(b) By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:
(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
Today the City of Los Angeles, defendant in Carol Sobel et al.’s latest suit on behalf of homeless people, filed a motion to dismiss many of the causes of action in the complaint. There is also an associated request for judicial notice regarding one of the facts recited in the motion. The issues seem mostly technical and beyond my capacity to interpret, but I will venture some comments on one claim by the City. They seem to assert (at p.5, L.9) that one of the causes should be dismissed because the initial complaint didn’t argue that the City didn’t have a valid reason for seizing and destroying the property at issue. Specifically that Plaintiffs never plead that all of the property seized was lawful to possess, and was clean or at least uncontaminated by direct contact with or close proximity to the hazardous materials common on a Skid Row street – feces, rats, maggots, blood, etc. – such that the property did not pose an immediate hazard to health.
And further, that because it’s at least plausible that the property was contaminated just by being on Skid Row, the only allowed relief from the destruction of their property is money damages from the City. I don’t see how this can be right, though. Continue reading City Files Motion to Dismiss Mitchell v. Los Angeles, Hearing Set for Monday, May 9 at 10 a.m.→