INDUSTRY (CNS) - The mayor of the City of Industry lives in an elegant home in the Industry Hills, and is paying $700 a month for it, well below fair-market value, it was reported today.
The house just underwent $450,000 renovations at city expense, and was apparently not offered to the public at market rates, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
The newspaper, part of the Los Angeles News Group, reported that the small irregularly-shaped city, composed almost entirely of factories and warehouses, also supplies generous housing benefits to city council members elected by the small number of eligible voters.
Mayor Mark Redecki lives behind gates on city land, land that the city would not allow the newspaper to access, the Tribune reported today.
He pays $700 a month for the 5,500-square-foot house, which just underwent $450,000 in renovations at city expense. Included in that were quartz fixtures in the master bathroom, granite counter tops to the kitchen and a $3,400 refrigerator.
A four-ton heating and air-conditioning system keeps the mayor comfortable.
The house was originally built for one-time Industry Mayor David Winn, and no one has lived on site for two decades, the Tribune reported.
“If the city spends money on an investment, then they owe it to taxpayers to obtain fair-market value as a return on that investment,” Jessica Levinson, president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission and a professor of law at Loyola Law School told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
“It strikes me as wildly inappropriate to spend city funds renovating a residence that is then used by the mayor well below fair-market value,” Levinson said.
The four-bedroom, three-bath home occupied by Redecki and his family is in a gated area on the grounds of the Industry Hills Expo Center.
Industry's housing board -- appointed by the city council -- approved Redecki's wife as a tenant shortly before construction on the house ended.
Levinson told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that the mayor's new home appears to be the most egregious example of “systemic inappropriateness” in the city.
The newspaper reported that Redecki declined to answer questions about the situation.
And despite pledges to reform its housing program over the past three years, Industry still does not have a basic application process for any of its roughly two dozen rentals, the newspaper reported. Most of the beneficiaries are City Council members, their family members and friends.
With only 200 residents, the housing market and the voter pool by extension are tightly controlled. None of the tenants living in Industry-owned housing pays more than $700 a month, a price that has gone unchanged since the 1990s, the newspaper reported.
An investigation by the Tribune and its parent Southern California News Group in 2016 found that City of Industry could owe millions in back taxes because the subsidy may qualify as an employee benefit.
The City of Industry is like several California municipalities created decades ago, for the express purpose of allowing companies to avoid paying taxes, and having to deal with residents.