Posted: Monday, July 10, 2017 – 3:01 PM
Former City Property Manager Brenda Lavender is set to be arraigned Sept. 5 in the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles following her arrest earlier today.
In December of 2015, the City of Beverly Hills discovered a possible embezzlement involving Lavender, the former Real Estate and Property Manager for the City. The matter was immediately reported to the Beverly Hills Police Department and Lavender’s employment was terminated.
Following BHPD’s investigation, Lavender was arrested today for two felony offenses, including allegedly failing to collect more than $800,000 from a city tenant over a period of three years. Bail was set at $50,000.
At the time of the crime, Lavender’s job responsibilities included the oversight and collection of monthly lease payments from City-owned properties. From 2012 to 2015, Lavender allegedly failed to collect obligated lease payments from one of the tenants leasing a City-owned property, and intentionally failed to report to the City that this particular tenant was in arrears for these lease payments. The aggregate uncollected lease payments over the three-year period exceed $800,000. Failure to collect lease payments is a felony violation of California Penal Code §424(a) – Misappropriation of Public Funds.
In addition to failing to collect lease payments, it was determined that Lavender allegedly provided false information on her 2015 Statements of Economic Interests Form 700, when she failed to report a $15,000 loan she received from another tenant during the course of her employment. Failure to report a loan on the Form 700 is a felony violation of California Penal Code §118(a) – Perjury by Declaration.
According to a release sent out by the City, the investigation into the crimes pointed to a need for the property management operation to be reorganized in order to create the appropriate oversight and accountability.
In order to establish a check and balance process, the property management function has been split among three City departments: Administrative Services collects and monitors rent payments; Policy and Management oversees property leasing; and Public Works manages tenant relations. In addition, the City will be hiring an internal auditor to monitor all City operations.