Critics see Rudolf Montiel’s departure pay as a symbol of misplaced priorities and poor management at the agency. The authority’s board chief says the deal was in the agency’s best interests.
Rudolf Montiel said his removal from the post had “an air of retribution and retaliation.”
Rudolf Montiel seemed remarkably sanguine last spring, sitting in a meeting room at the Los Angeles Housing Authority headquarters as he was publicly castigated by tenants just before being fired as the head of the largest public housing operation west of the Mississippi.
He even smiled slightly as he threaded his way through an angry crowd. Before he stepped into the elevator, Montiel coolly suggested that his ouster had “an air of retribution and retaliation.”
Montiel may have had reason to smile. Records obtained by The Times show that the housing authority board appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has quietly agreed to pay Montiel nearly $1.2 million in connection with his dismissal.
News of the agreement, reached in meetings over the last six weeks, sparked swift, sharp criticism of an agency already buffeted by a criminal investigation, probing auditors and allegations that officials have lavishly and improperly spent taxpayer funds intended for the poor on travel and entertainment.