Last year we posted a magisterial, five-part history about one of Fullerton’s greatest Redevelopment boondoggles, the so-called “City Lights” single-room occupancy project. Our series started here.
As we related, here, in October 2010, questions were being raised about the financial dealings and records of the developer, Ajit Mithaiwala, and the federal government was investigating.
Once again, according to a recent article in LA Times, here, Mithaiwala and his company ADI, are accused of sticking it to the City of Glendale, but good. More evidence is presented suggesting that ADI defrauded the Glendale housing agency out of millions, possibly building substandard po’ folks housing while receiving millions in public subsidy. To top it off, ADI was greasing the axles of local government real well, too, as demonstrated by contributions and favors to city councilmembers in Glendale.
According to the articles ADI has been involved in 40-50 projects across the Southland, so the enormity of the problem is, well, potentially enormous, if in fact, the Glendale experience proves typical.
Which brings us back to Fullerton. When the SRO was built in the late 90s, peculiar construction techniques and prolonged inspection difficulties had some scratching their heads. And now with stories of possible substandard work in Glendale circulating, we are well within the bounds of reason asking our city officials if, in fact, the building is really safe for occupancy.
Where is Mithaiwala? These articles do not say. Maybe the FBI is looking.
And just for fun backwards salute, here’s a timely quote from our current mayor, Ol’ Doc Heehaw who, when the SRO was being proposed in 1997, shot off his big yapper, got threatened with a personal lawsuit by Mithaiwala’s henchmen, and then cowardly changed his vote:
“The city would be at great, I underline great, financial risk if it did not proceed with this project,” Jones said before casting his vote for the settlement. The threatened lawsuit was “a loaded gun against the head,” Jones said.
Risk. Thanks Mr. All Hat and No Cattle.