Scope of BID Patrol Surveillance, Counterintelligence Far Broader than Previously Thought: Email to LAPD Demonstrates Long-Term Tracking, Unsupported Allegations of Sexual Misconduct, Drug Use Against BID Opponent

The Andrews International BID Patrol and the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance surveilled this guy for at least 33 months, in part because of his videotaping of BID Patrol operations.  The HPOA involved the LAPD in their surveillance program to some extent.  What a mess.
The Andrews International BID Patrol and the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance surveilled this guy for at least 33 months, in part because of his videotaping of BID Patrol operations. According to Kerry Morrison, BID Patrol boss Steve Seyler kept a “history” of him for years. The HPOA involved the LAPD in their surveillance program to some extent. What a mess.
In October 2015 we wrote about a number of cases where the Andrews International Hollywood BID Patrol collected intelligence information on its perceived enemies, mostly residents of Hollywood who opposed them in some manner. Among these instances of BID Patrol spying there was a mysterious case involving a man named Eric, pictured to the right. Our faithful correspondent has recently obtained a number of emails from the LAPD, which he’s preparing for publication and plans to make available quite soon. We jumped the queue on this email,1 though, because it explains a number of lacunae in our previous post.

It’s from Kerry Morrison to LAPD officer Mark Dibell about Eric, written in September 2014, 33 months after the January 2012 surveillance photographs of the man were taken by the BID Patrol. The subject line is “A matter for Vice.” TL;DR is that Eric “…had a routine of harassing and filming the BID patrol…” and so Kerry Morrison and A/I tracked his movements, photographed him, and almost three years later, wrote to the LAPD on behalf of his new landlord, Kelly Vickers of Eastown Apartments, reporting past, evidently unsupported, allegations of “sexual misconduct…and drug use” among other things. The subject line suggests that Kerry is trying to get this guy in trouble with the Vice squad as a service to one of the property owners in the BID.

How does anyone think this is OK? How does the BID carry on a three year vendetta against this guy for filming their security guards? Sure, Kerry claims it’s because of “sexual misconduct…and drug use,” but really, if the guy was provably up to those things why all the emails and subterfuge? Why not just call the actual cops and make an actual police report like actual non-creepy-zillionaires have to do in such circumstances? It’s pretty unlikely anyway that one can move into a fancy douchebag-serving apartment paradise like Eastown without a criminal background check, so the “allegations” remain only allegations. And even if he was or is guilty of “sexual misconduct…and drug use,” how is investigating that the business of the BID Patrol? They’re freaking security guards, not spies, not detectives.

The City of Los Angeles is famous for using BIDs to implement policies which it itself has been forced to eschew, but this kind of spying, which the contemporary LAPD has explicitly disavowed, reveals this dynamic to be playing out on an entirely unsuspected level. Read the whole thing here or after the break.


Good evening, Lt. Dibell,

I am introducing you, via this email, to Kelly Vickers. She is the Regional VP for the property management company that is handling Eastown (Sares-Regis) – the new apartment development at Hollywood & Argyle. They started leasing their units about two months ago.

She would like to speak with you about a problem tenant who has taken up residence at Eastown. His name is Eric [last name redacted by MK.org] and he is well-known to the BID and others in Hollywood.

By way of background (and I’m looping Steve into this, as he has most of the history) Eric used to live at the Jefferson, the complex at the NE corner of Highland and Hollywood when it first opened. He had a routine of harassing and filming the BID patrol, and had a video camera trained on our office, etc. We can live with that, but he was a huge thorn in the side of the management company for the Jefferson. We heard from the property manager at that time that there were allegations of sexual misconduct in his unit and drug use. This was around 2012.

He left for awhile, [sic] and recently re-appeared. It appears he has moved into Eastown. I will let Ms. Vickers describe to you what they have encountered with his residency there; some things best addressed by LAPD.

Her email is above, and her cell phone is [redacted by LAPD]

Thanks so much for your help on this Mark.

Kerry

  1. We haven’t redacted many of the records we’ve posted, but we redacted Eric’s last name from this email. The redacted cell phone number later in the email was done by the LAPD.

The image of Eric on the street is a public record, obtained from the HPOA and the A/I BID Patrol under the CPRA.

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3 thoughts on “Scope of BID Patrol Surveillance, Counterintelligence Far Broader than Previously Thought: Email to LAPD Demonstrates Long-Term Tracking, Unsupported Allegations of Sexual Misconduct, Drug Use Against BID Opponent”

    1. It’s is an interesting question, and it had occurred to me too. This was the reason that the Arts District BID was dissolved in 2013 (only to rise cancer-like from its grave). Evidently this freaked out the BIDs so much that they got the legislature to pass AB-2618, which somehow is supposed to clarify what they’re allowed to spend money on in some way which is supposed to prevent lawsuits like the one that sunk the Arts District BID. I hope to write about this at some point.

      My completely uneducated and uninformed feeling is that courts and the city won’t be willing to micromanage BIDs’ spending, so as long as the money’s being used for “security,” which is already seen as appropriate, this isn’t going to be a way to put a stop to BID Patrol spying. I’m not sure what is, though. It’s so creepy, but maybe it’s not the kind of creepy that’s illegal.

      1. Jesus Christ, Mike, get over yourself! Not everything’s a teachable moment ;-) Of course it’s a misuse of the tax money… They’re supposed to be trimming the fricking trees, not spying on people.

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