Editor’s Note: We are pleased to present this guest post by our colleague Derek Fields.
California State Senator Isadore Hall could be in trouble for repeatedly using his position as a politician to gain special advantages for himself and his family members. Various news outlets around Los Angeles have broken different stories that suggest Hall’s abuse of power may be part of a recurring pattern.
The Russells have already exposed Isadore Hall’s financial ties to alcohol, tobacco and soda, and even linked to the LA Weekly article about Hall’s Campaign spending funds at a strip club in Las Vegas. Other news outlets have exposed similar stories, such as when Hall attended the Kentucky Derby with one of the most prominent gambling industry lobbyists in California while sitting on the state committee that oversaw gambling. He also received political donations from the gambling lobbyist’s clients.
Hall is currently serving as a California State Senator and running against CrossFit-supported anti-soda candidate Nanette Barragan for a seat in the United States House of Representatives.
New Hall scandals keep popping up. Last month CBS2 in Los Angeles broke a story about Errick Lee, a registered sex offender working for the State of California as a property manager in a state-owned building that housed, among other things, a childcare center. According to the story, Lee went to jail for two years and had to register as a sex offender after molesting a 15-year-old boy he picked up after class at an area school. Lee also was fortunate enough to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against him using taxpayer money from the state of California after, in 2014, he was accused of grabbing a male janitor’s butt and then asking him “doesn’t this feel good?”
Not only did Lee enjoy a nearly $80,000 salary, paid to him by the state for managing a building with a childcare center despite his registered sex-offender status, and receive protection using taxpayer money in that sexual harassment lawsuit, but just months after that lawsuit was filed he received a certificate for “outstanding dedication” and “exemplary service” from the state, signed by none other than Isadore Hall, who happens to be Lee’s brother.
We can’t be sure how much of Lee’s extremely fortunate treatment by the State of California can be directly attributed to his brother’s position of political authority, but such wonderful treatment would seem to be an impressive coincidence considering Hall’s history and the other allegations of corruption we’ll examine in the rest of this article. Although Lee says he was working for the state before his brother was in the legislature, one has to wonder whether Hall’s political connections, which he almost certainly had before getting elected to the state government, helped protect his brother by using taxpayer money in the lawsuit, or even helped him get his job while hiding his sex-offender status in the first place. As stated above, all these allegations, when put together, seem to demonstrate a pattern of abuse that haunts Hall’s political career.
In searching for information on Isadore Hall we found a Scribd account that had uploaded several official state documents, including an eviction notice and injunction involving State Senator Hall and a housing development in his district called Alameda Court. A quick internet search of Hall’s name and “Alameda Court” reveals that there is a lawsuit surrounding the housing development. Apparently Hall voted to subsidize the development of Alameda Court with taxpayer money and ended up living in the development himself. The official complaint filed in LA County Superior Court says,
“Mr. Hall has received ‘white glove’ treatment from the [Alameda Court] Defendants, including but not limited to additional and reserved parking spaces for multiple vehicles, regular visits from Lin [the founder and principal of the housing development], etc.”
This complaint says that Hall approved using taxpayer dollars to fund a housing development that he then ended up living in and getting special treatment in. Meanwhile, other residents of Alameda Court were led to believe, according to the lawsuit, that the property was following a “rent-to-own” model but then lost the money they had put toward owning the property. According to the lawsuit, the owners of the housing development told residents, who started inquiring more frequently about the opportunity to own their units, that the units were no longer available for purchase and that their down payments would not be refunded.
This is where the eviction notice and other documents uploaded to that Scribd account come in. Hall helped get approval for state funding of Alameda Court and then lived there getting special treatment, but now he’s been evicted? It’s unclear exactly what’s going on here, but the Ex Parte document has a declaration from Doug Baker, the Alameda Court landlord, saying that Hall had been living in the housing development rent-free for some time. We see in the Eviction Notice that Hall is being evicted because he now owes $4,800 in unpaid rent and $5,000 in unpaid utilities. Was Hall living rent-free in the complex he helped fund with state dollars until some type of disagreement happened and the owners decided to kick him out?
As we said before, the exact details of the Alameda Court situation aren’t entirely clear, but whether Hall has just been avoiding his rent payments or living rent-free for granting state funding to the project, the situation is concerning to say the least. The story of Hall and Alameda Court only adds to Hall’s pattern of abuse of his political power to gain advantages for himself and those close to him. Whether spending campaign funds at a strip club, relaxing at the Kentucky Derby with an industry’s lobbyist he’s supposed to regulate, commending his brother Errick Lee for exemplary service only months after Lee squandered taxpayer money in a sexual harassment lawsuit, or funding a housing project and then living in it while enjoying special favors, it’s clear that Isadore Hall prioritizes his own interests and personal gain ahead of the interests of the people of his district.