Lancaster sues to recoup costs from Section 8 legal battle

LANCASTER – The City of Lancaster has filed a lawsuit against the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA), officials announced Tuesday.

The lawsuit aims to recoup nearly $400,000 the city spent defending itself in legal battles over the Antelope Valley’s now-defunct Section 8 fraud investigation program, according to a city news release.

“The ongoing litigation over our Section 8 fraud investigation program, which aimed only to protect taxpayers by eradicating fraud from the system and freeing up vouchers for those who are truly in need, has cost the City dearly,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris, in a city news release. “The fact that over 96% of terminations recommended by these investigators were upheld in court shows how successful this program was. Yet, not only did Los Angeles County abandon the Antelope Valley to the whims of those who would defile this excellent program for political gain, they also added fuel to the fire by feeding false information about the City’s liability to the Community Action League and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to deflect any responsibility from themselves.”

The litigation stems from a 2011 complaint that claimed the fraud investigation program – a joint venture between HACoLA, Lancaster and Palmdale – was racially discriminatory.

The complaint was filed  with HUD and in Federal Court.

The HUD complaint has since been withdrawn, and claims related to the Section 8 fraud investigation program have been removed from the Federal Court filing, according to the city news release.

The city claims it expended nearly $400,000 in legal fees to date defending itself against the claims.

HACoLA’s agreement to defend Lancaster and hold it harmless was in full effect at the time of the complaints; however, HACoLA failed to defend the city as required by the contract, the city claims.

“Despite Los Angeles County’s legal obligations to defend us, Lancaster has been left to weather this storm alone,” Parris said.

In August 2011, the City served the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors with a formal request to provide the City with a defense against the complaints as contractually obligated, but to date, this defense has not been provided, the city claims.

“The Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale jointly funded the fraud investigation program, while it was Los Angeles County’s responsibility to hire, train, supervise and have complete employer control over the investigators,” said Parris. “This is clearly stated in our contract, as is the fact that Los Angeles County must defend, hold harmless and indemnify the city from all costs and claims for damages arising from their investigators’ work.”

“The City is merely asking HACoLA to make good on its promises and give the citizens of Lancaster what they are owed – defense against these baseless allegations, and reimbursement of the nearly $400,000 we have already been compelled to spend in order to defend the actions of HACoLA’s own employees as part of this indispensable program,” Parris continued.

Updated 8.15.12: View the city’s entire complaint against the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles here.

  22 comments for “Lancaster sues to recoup costs from Section 8 legal battle

  1. CaptainObvious
    August 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Stinger “there you go again.” It’s been well documented in many media outlets, that the majority of the whiners in the Section 8 program stemmed from “raids” that were conducted when Henry Hearns (and Jim Ledford for that matter) were mayor…aka before Rex. Also, a “raid” is a search warrant, of which very few were conducted compared to the homes that were subject to compliance checks by Section 8. That info came from Gary Brody and John Oneal, who both had impeccable records when they were Sheriff’s then Section 8 investigators, by all accounts. So I will have to take their word for what occurred at these locations before the word of some hoodrats in this Valley. I try to follow news in the Valley, and I’m not aware of Parris “joining” investigators on “raids”, but hey, I’m open to seeing a link, article, or photo supporting this. Even if he did, I don’t necessarily think it’s bad, he doesn’t control the street cops in this city, has no power over them, he’s not a cop (maybe he wants to be sometimes?) contrary to your previously stated beliefs.

    • Stinger
      August 15, 2012 at 12:01 am

      Thank you for an intelligent response to my posts. I am in agreement with you that the majority of the complaints listed occurred during the mayorship of Hearns. My point has always been, however, that it was the abrasive, abusive, and arrogant publicity presented by the subsequent mayor that caused the suit to actually happen. Had Hearns continued as mayor, or a less arrogant and divisive mayor been elected, I believe that the situation would not have gotten to this level and we would still have those investigators in operation.

      • Michelle Egberts
        August 15, 2012 at 5:36 am

        Please refer to the folowing link (California Lawyer Magazine July 2012 edition)to further read on Mayor Parris’ declaration of war on Section 8.

        • sacryinshame
          August 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

          great article. Thank you for the link.

  2. Stinger
    August 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    If, indeed, LA County is contractually obligated to defend the City of Lancaster for investigative work done by the personnel paid for from the city, then this should be interesting to see how it turns out. Conversely, the County may have the ability to countersue the City of Lancaster due to the incendiary remarks and atmosphere created by the leaders of the City of Lancaster for causing the initial lawsuit to begin with. Not quite sure how successful either side will be on this, but it should make for some fascinating court watching.

    • really
      August 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      I bet Lancaster wins this one. Just like they would have beat the other suits. The city funded the team, they only wrote the check. The management of the team was the responsibility of the county. Anyone wanna bet me on this one?

      • Stinger
        August 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

        Normally, I would agree with you on this. However, early on in his tenure as mayor, Parris made it a point to join these investigators on a variety of raids. This tends to make the management of the investigators to be city-driven, instead of county-driven. This could backfire on the city far worse than if Parris had not chosen to engage in those photo-op raids.

        • Mike W.
          August 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm

          Cha-Ching! Another $1.oo for Stinker from TCAL!

        • really
          August 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm

          Thats not true at all, anytime something is done politicians attach themselves to it. Because he used it to make himself look good doesnt mean he is culpable for their actions or driving their operations. Also no matter what city or entity your speaking about they cant make anybody in another orginization do anything. They can make suggestions but it is ultimately up to the individual orginization to excute their job in accordance with the laws and policies that govern them. Following your logic the city would be liable for all claims against the sheriffs department since they pay for them and vocally support them, thats just not the way contract law works

          • Stinger
            August 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm

            Again, all things being equal, I would agree with your statement about the inability to directly influence the activities of another organization. Unfortunately, however, all things are not equal in this case.

          • ed
            August 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

            Unless you have seen the contract how can you debate it?

          • Stinger
            August 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm

            That is a fair question. In truth, I am not attempting to debate the contract itself, I am musing over how appearances may have an impact to the matter in court.

            It may very well be that the public grandstanding efforts by Parris, et al, may have no standing whatsoever in this case to the court. It could be an interesting point to be brought out by the County Counsel in defense motions, however.

    • Mike W.
      August 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Cha-ching! $1.oo for the TCALite!

  3. Maria
    August 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Way to go Parris! Now, I wonder how many Hug-A-Thug Parris hating trolls are gonna spew their obtuse hating opinions on this?!

    • Mike W.
      August 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      looks like local TCAL defender “Stinker” has crawled out from under the bridge. How many more trolls will follow?

      Gotta keep that TCAL money rolling in! Cha-ching!

      • Stinger
        August 15, 2012 at 12:04 am

        I am unaware of any defense of TCAL being made in my posts. Perhaps if you actually read them instead of having a clearly reactionary fit for a response, you would have seen that.

        • Seriously?
          August 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm


          would that be anything like saying “cha-ching! another $1 for the Parrisite” every time someone states that they support the sheriffs dept. or the city’s effort to crack down on crime?

          Or saying “cha-ching! another $1 for the Parrisite” when people are vocal about not wanting to see the AV turn into another Compton/Watts/South Central.

          Hi Pot, I’m kettle.nice to meet you! (hypocrite!!!!)

          • Stinger
            August 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm

            Where did I give any defense of TCAL in my posts to warrant your claim? Also, if you bothered to actually read any of my posts from the past, you would discover that I very much tend to favor the LASD, and legitimate attempts to combat crime that are criminologically sound in theory, making your claim to be pure fabrication borne of naught but political attempts at obfuscation of the facts. Finally, you have not engaged in any type of rational discussion and merely (and immediately, without provocation) engage in false attacks of character.

            These are the acts, by definition, of a troll blogger.

            If you wish to engage in legitimate debate, you are welcome to try posting again with a more appropriate format for such.

          • realitycheck
            August 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm

            Well now Stinger, I have to disagree with you there. I haven’t seen very much support of law enforcement from you, and on the rare occasion you do show it, its only when they comply with YOUR version of “legitimate attempts to combat crime that are criminologically sound in theory.” You’ve admitted in the past these are theories you read from books, some of which originated in the 1800’s in another country. Those writers never anticipated the ghetto dwellers that have infiltrated this Valley.

          • Stinger
            August 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

            Needsarealitycheck, perhaps you are not familiar with history and wish to repeat it?

            You, sir, have repeatedly shown your self-enforced lack of knowledge and clear derision for anybody who actually does. This is not to mention your complete inability to read effectively, which taints your responses with such breathtaking ignorance that it is unbelievable.

          • Knee Gus Paleez
            August 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm

            Stinker, we will all take your answer as a “I have no legitimate response to RC’s point, so I will once again try to pretend I’m so much smarter than everyone here by ignoring the point.” What makes you think you’re the authority on everything here?

          • Stinger
            August 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm

            Who is this, “all,” that you believe that you are competent to speak on behalf of?

            I only present an opinion. Since you don’t like it, you and your fellow trolls go out of your way to avoid any discussion on the subject at hand and try to divert the attention away from my logical position(s) by engaging in provocative insults intended to draw an emotional response and cause everybody to forget what the original discussion was supposed to be about.

            Again, these are the acts, by definition, of a troll blogger.

Comments are closed.