On Thursday, November 14th, the city of Inglewood convened an emergency council meeting to purchase two homes for winners of a Housing Lottery that took place in late July one of which is a current employee of the city of Inglewood.
On August 21, 2018, the city created the Homebuyers Assistance Program which established guidelines for the program.
The program would involve providing mortgage assistance of up to $350,000, in the form of a LOAN, with the homeowner being required to make a down payment of 3%. $2 million was pledged towards the program.
By late July, the amount pledged towards the program swelled to $3.75 million with the money coming from the city’s general fund/reserves, while the city waited from approval from the Department of Finance to use the Redevelopment Bond Funds. The city has yet to receive such approval.
Last Thursday’s emergency meeting saw the city purchase TWO homes on behalf of two of the lottery winners, Jazmine Covington who was in the #1 position and Qiana Redine who was #5. It is unknown if Redine is either a friend or family member of anyone in Inglewood City Hall.
The Homebuyer Assistance Program established conflict of interest language that the city employee is not in violation, but Covington’s mother, who is the city’s interim budget manager, is the right hand to Assistant City Manager David Esparza, who oversees the Inglewood Housing Authority (IHA), who administers the first time homebuyer program. Esparza refused to sign the staff reports related to these transactions.
The home purchased on behalf of Jazmine Covington, was listed for an asking price of $550,000. The home has been totally remodeled and the owners accepted an astonishingly low offer of $600,000, due to code violations on the property.
According to the listing agent, the home Covington is attempting to purchase has been under a contingency contract since September 9th and they feel the city will back out of the deal and are now accepting backup offers. The city states the property has code violations that the seller needs to cure first.
The other winner, Qiana Rendine, was fortunate to have the city intervene as the owner of the Briarwood home she is trying to purchase is in foreclosure.
The city is attempting to “beat the clock” on the appraisal prices of both homes. They feel the LA County Assessor’s office may reassess the properties, and not retain the proposed $312,500 resale price basis being used to complete the transactions. The city also cites strict resale restrictions under the Revenue and Taxation Code.
LA County Assessor Jeffrey Prang is currently involved in a lawsuit, with employees of his office, who have filed whistleblower claims against him for cutting favors for political friends.
Three of Mayor Butts largest supporters are involved in representing the buyers: Gene Armstrong, Ted and Glenda Brass.
The party forced to sign off on these dubious transactions is Inglewood Housing Manager Roberto Chavez who also had to sign on behalf of his boss, Assistant City Manager David Esparza.
In total, the city advanced $1.1 million dollars, out of the general fund, to buy two homes instead of providing loans towards the purchase as described, and approved, in the program guidelines unveiled to the public in 2018.