Capitol Alert

Embattled California housing agency chairman leaving in September

North Edinburgh Avenue in Los Angeles, where Bulldog Partners LLC reportedly wants to replace eight rent-controlled apartments with for-sale homes.
North Edinburgh Avenue in Los Angeles, where Bulldog Partners LLC reportedly wants to replace eight rent-controlled apartments with for-sale homes. Google Maps

The chairman of the state agency that finances affordable housing has announced he will soon leave amid criticism that his development company plans to eliminate several rent-controlled units to make way for million dollar homes.

Since the plan became public several weeks ago, tenants-rights and consumer groups have called for Matthew Jacobs’ removal from the Housing Finance Agency. At the beginning of an agency board meeting on Wednesday, Jacobs said that he will not seek reappointment when his term expires on Sept. 26, said Housing Finance spokeswoman Melissa Flores.

Jacobs did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Jacobs to the 16-member board in 2012 and named him chairman the following year. The position pays $100 per diem.

According to news reports, Jacobs’ Beverly Hills-based firm, Bulldog Partners LLC, made plans to evict residents in an eight-unit apartment complex it owns in Los Angeles. The firm wants to clear out the rent-controlled properties to build homes for sale.

Bulldog Partners can legally evict the tenants because state law allows rent-controlled property owners to kick out renters to convert the property into condos or homes. To the dismay of renter advocacy groups, attempts to change the law have failed.

One of those groups, Tenants Together, said Wednesday that demands for Jacobs’ removal the last two months had finally borne fruit with the announcement he is leaving.

“Evictors like Jacobs,” the group said in a statement, “have no place making affordable housing policy in this state.”

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