The Retirement Housing Foundation owns and operates a variety of low-income housing facilities around the country, including two, Angelus Plaza and Angelus Plaza North, which are located within the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. In 2012 RHF sued the DCBID and the City of Los Angeles, arguing that because they were a nonprofit provider of low-income housing none or few of the BID’s activities benefited them and that therefore under requirements of the California Constitution they could not be required to pay BID assessments.1
A confidential 2013 report to the City Council by Deputy City Attorney Daniel Whitley, a copy of which I recently obtained, states that the City Attorney’s office considered the City’s case extremely weak.2 However, the report continues:
Because of the many Business Improvement Districts that would potentially be affected by either litigation or settlement, initially we were instructed to defend the City in this litigation but also to attempt to settle the matter so as to protect other Business Improvement Districts.
In accordance with this instruction, the City Attorney negotiated a settlement with RHF in which the City would refund all assessments paid to RHF, to the tune of a little more than $100K per year over the five year life of the BID. Whitley recommended to Council that they approve it. His reasoning was stark:
Given that the City will almost certainly lose this litigation (as we discussed earlier), should the City wish for the DCBID to continue in operation, we recommend approval of the settlement.
This settlement was approved by City Council on February 13, 2013. And the City did pay the money. But then the DCBID expired and was renewed starting in 2018.3 And RHF asked the City to renew the settlement, and the City refused. So RHF filed suit again in 2017. Turn the page for the sordid details.
Continue reading In 2017 Nonprofit Housing Provider — Retirement Housing Foundation — Sued The Downtown Center BID And The City Of LA Seeking To Invalidate The BID And Lost — RHF Sued In 2012 Also And A Confidential City Attorney Report Reveals That The City Felt Sure RHF Would Win That Case — Victory Would Endanger All Other BIDs In LA — And So Sought To Settle — Ended Up Refunding $500,000 In Assessments To The Nonprofit — When DCBID Renewed In 2017 The City Declined To Renew The Settlement — Hence The Second Lawsuit — Get Copies Of All Pleadings Filed — Including Notice Of Appeal Filed On Wednesday