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Selling a Surplus City-Owned Condo: What’s the Big Hurry, Mr. Mayor?


THE PREVEN REPORT-For matters requiring urgent attention, the City Council of Los Angeles has the power to convene a Special Meeting, whereby the amount of advanced notice it is required to give the public before taking action is reduced from three days to one. 


At the Special Meeting convened by the Council last Wednesday morning, the matter requiring urgent attention was a request from the Mayor, who’s apparently eager for the City to close escrow on a particular one-bedroom condo unit at 1119 Albany Street. 

The property’s been owned by the City for decades. Why is it suddenly so important to close the deal? 

The sale has nothing to do with a lawsuit or some other form of liability. It’s simply a case of the City selling a piece of surplus property to a private buyer. 

Which raises another question -- why is the property not being sold at public auction as the City Charter requires such properties to be sold? According to the Mayor’s request, the private nature of the sale is required by the “public interest and necessity.” 

One can’t help but wonder whether the framers of our City Charter really had 1119 Albany Street in mind when they carved out the exceptions regarding Special Meetings and the sale of surplus city property. Perhaps the Mayor could explain. What do you think?

(Eric Preven and Joshua Preven are public advocates for better transparency in local government and occasional contributors to CityWatch.  Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.