Disclosures reveal development company’s ties to Glendale city officials

An affordable housing complex in Glendale, the Metro Loma, shown here in Feb. 2009.

An affordable housing complex in Glendale, the Metro Loma, shown here in Feb. 2009.

(Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer)

The construction arm of a development company that bilked the city’s Housing Authority out of millions was one of the largest contributors to City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian’s campaign in 2008.

Pacific Housing Diversified, which had the same ownership as Advanced Development and Investment Inc., known as ADI, gave $6,000 to support Kassakhian’s 2009 bid, when he ran unopposed, according to campaign disclosure statements.

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Sitting Glendale City Council members Laura Friedman and Ara Najarian received contributions from ADI’s subcontractors after they were pressured to donate by the company.

Both elected officials said they believe those donors were local business owners and were not aware of their ties to ADI.

Kassakhian, who’s running for California State Assembly, said he’s in the same boat. The ADI scandal did not come to light until 2010.

“I didn’t know [Pacific Housing Diversified] was complicit in defrauding the city,” he said in a phone interview.

Friedman is also running for State Assembly, while Najarian is in the race for L.A. County Supervisor.

Kassakhian added that his situation is different because the city clerk’s office does not vote on development projects like the City Council or the Housing Authority do.

Kassakhian raised more than $33,000 despite running unopposed in 2009, but still spent his money on expenses such as phone banks and campaign consultants.

“You raise money in preparation of having a possible opponent. We ended up not having an opponent and ran unopposed, but you still do stuff in terms of community outreach, awareness and educating people about the elections process,” he said.

As for the amount Pacific Housing Diversified donated, the cap on how much candidates can receive has since been set at $1,000.

City Manager Scott Ochoa said the city is close to getting back about $17 million from a receivership assigned to ADI.


Arin Mikailian,

Twitter: @ArinMikailian