Residents speak out about alleged scam

The city's role in the alleged over-billing of Advanced Development & Investment Inc. for at least one Glendale affordable housing project, Vassar City Lights, was a major topic of discussion during the public comment period of the City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Nearly two dozen residents were split between distrust and support of those on the dais.

"What I wanted to know is council members: Are you going to return all the alleged funds?" said resident Charles Hooker.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and state Controller John Chiang froze nearly $150,000 raised by ADI into separate accounts until the outcome of a federal probe into ADI, which has built dozens of subsidized apartment complexes in California with taxpayer money.

Others spoke in support of the City Council, urging residents not to read too much into The Times investigation.

"Take a deep breath. Step back. Wait for the facts to come out," said resident Mirna Stanley. "I guarantee we don't have all the facts."

The Times and the Glendale News-Press have reported that ADI funneled thousands of dollars through a network of subcontractors to past and current City Council members as the affordable housing projects were being approved. Millions in subsidies were allocated to the projects, even as city officials assigned to the Vassar City Lights project raised concerns over rising costs and apparent lackluster quality.

Others urged Glendale officials to assist in finding answers for the questions lingering around the ADI investigation.

"We don't want our city to be under a cloud," said former City Council candidate Lenore Solis. "We hope that you are going to do whatever each of you individually can and whatever your staff can do to assist in this investigation."

City Manager Jim Starbird cited many additional factors that had played into ADI's success across the state, especially its ability to secure 9% tax credits.

He also said the CIty Council had been motivated by the desire to quickly provide additional affordable housing units to meet an ever-present demand.

"ADI has produced more family affordable housing units in Glendale than all of the affordable housing developers we have worked with combined," he said.

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