The United States has joined a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and the defunct Community Redevelopment Agency alleging that they fraudulently obtained housing grants, according to the Department of Justice.
The filing states that the city took federal money to create housing accessible by people with disabilities, but instead used the money to create inaccessible housing that deprived people with disabilities an equal opportunity to find housing.
The city repeatedly certified its compliance with federal accessibility laws to obtain funds, but many of the apartment buildings it built failed to meet minimal accessibility requirements, the lawsuit alleges.
The court papers filed by the government Tuesday replace an earlier lawsuit filed by a “whistleblower.” The original lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by Mei Ling, a Los Angeles resident who uses a wheelchair, and the Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley, a nonprofit group. The Department of Justice elected to join the lawsuit and take over the litigation, which prompted the unsealing of the whistleblower's complaint in June. The case is pending before U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez.
The Community Redevelopment Agency was a city entity that managed, directed and funded improvement projects. In 2012, California dissolved all redevelopment agencies in the state.