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Gensler steals $1 Million dollars from homeless for their new office in LA

ACrowley

1 Million dollar originally allocated for the homeless in skidrow is heisted by Gensler for their brand new office in downtown. I will say it again, 1 Million dollar of tax payer money for Gensler's new office, not public works, their own new office (Gensler is the richest corporate architecture firm in North America).

 

Rest of the article:

 

http://www.laweekly.com/2011-04-21/news/huge-subsidy-for-stadium-architect/

 

If you are struggling architects, you should be angry and condemn this (withdraw all ties to Gensler and its affiliate organizations).

 

LA Architects, especially in downtown should make damn sure their insidious presence is unwelcome and frowned upon.

 

Molotov cocktails for Gensler's $1 Million dollar new office in downtown LA. Cheers you scumbags !

 
Apr 25, 11 10:16 pm
Rusty!

I guess everyone's too busy sending their resumes to Gensler's  proposed new office to respond to your post.

 

It's plain weird to see an architecture office receive a kickback, but I'm afraid the "privately" funded billion dollar football stadium in question will make this million dollar mis-allocation of public funds look like chump change when it's all said and done.

 

To be fair, if you read TFA, it sound like Skid Row never stood a chance of receiving any of this money anyways. Hooker and blow fund will instead be spent on Herman Miller chairs and Revit licences. yay?

Apr 26, 11 2:34 am  · 
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sameolddoctor

On top of everything, it is a fucking ugly office to work in. Gensler, welcome to the 90s. I hope the building burns down to the ground (with some of the principals inside)

Apr 26, 11 2:29 pm  · 
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Community Development Block Grants are perhaps one of the most crooked federal programs that city commissioners and planners have at their personal discretion— an overwhelming majority of them go to pay for protected turning lanes for big block stores, "green belts" to protect white neighborhoods, stadia and sports complex and the rest usually end up contributing to real estate purchasing funds for eminent domain. Since they're not part of the general fund or general business of city government, there's little actual oversight local citizens have. And HUD has even fewer stipulations regarding their use.

 

CDBG must be used for the following: acquisition of real estate; construction of public works, facilities and site improvements; rehabilitation of buildings including privately owned buildings; ADA compliance; subsidizing and paying for losses incurred by temporary uses regarding relocation; financing public services that have either been discontinued or have not existed; Title I housing; emergency assistance; and activities necessary for market-rate development.

 

That's right! A city can use free federal money to build lifestyle centers, ramble-on suburbs and Wal-Mart parking lots. They can also use money to pay people to move to their cities.

 

Stadia, as well as theme parks and hotels, rely on thousands of low-wage to minimum-wage workers to stay operational. Who do you think will be working the thousands of jobs that Gensler and L.A.'s new stadium will create? That's right. Skid Row's army of drug addicts, homeless and other miscreants.

 

This will actually create more drug addicts and homeless people.

Apr 26, 11 3:01 pm  · 
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Not that I support public funding for sports stadiums, an abhorrent and alien practice here in Chicago, I think the situation is Gensler is moving into a redeveloped building in an economically depressed part of town so as to bring in jobs and economic activity. Some call this gentrification others call this community development. Community Development Block Grants often don't get spent on homeless shelters because they can only pay for capital expenses not programs and you need to have a program in place before you can have a homeless shelter and so goes the chicken and egg thing. Also CDBG money is matching so you need to have some of the funds before you get the rest of the CDBG money.  I do think it is not wise for governments to subsidize stadium construction, in Chicago the stadiums are owned by the park district and leased to the teams for a profit (soldier field) or they are privately owned and funded without much city money for operations maintenance or improvements apart from security and crowd control operations which are more than paid for with the taxes collected on the ticket sales.


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Rusty!

James, you need to think out of the box.

 

Perhaps Gensler will propose a stadium/colosseum hybrid. Football will only take up 8 days in the year. For the other 257 days they can stage 'bumfights' events. Plenty of job opportunities for the locals. Even a chance to become famous. 

 

Kids love animals!

 

Apr 26, 11 3:17 pm  · 
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I really hope they design the lower bowl to accommodate flooding. A bumfight featuring discarded chest freezers and crocodiles would bring in my tourist dollars. If they use saltwater crocs, they can just dump off the used ones in Marina Del Ray! It's a tax deductible write off!

Apr 26, 11 6:30 pm  · 
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file

Don't you think "steals" is just a tad strong?

 

Gensler was making a business location decision - the City of LA wanted them to move to LA from Santa Monica - the City of LA offered Gensler an "incentive" which -- as objective and astute business people (the absence of which we complain about continually around here) -- Gensler considered and accepted.

 

While the City of LA may be scumbags for the way they diverted the funds, I think you're being unnecessarily harsh in your judgement of Gensler. In all likelihood, if Gensler had rejected the offer and stayed in Santa Monica, the scumbags at the city still would have diverted the funds to incentivize some other potential tenant.

Apr 26, 11 8:48 pm  · 
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file, i hope you see the self defeating argument there..

ie;

"somebody will grab the handout from the scumbag, why not us"-gensler.

meaning, that 'incentive' which originally intended for the needy does not self wash and becomes cleaned up no problem just because the 'jewel box' is spic and span..

Apr 27, 11 2:09 pm  · 
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Do you know who the incentive was intended for? Grants for economic development in an area synonymous wit homelessness does not necessarily mean those funds were ever intended to aid homeless folks.

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file

orhan - I hear what you're saying.

 

However, my main points are that a) the OP's invective seems aimed primarily at Gensler, when - in fact - the City of LA is the main culprit here, and b) had Gensler walked away from this deal, the money in question still would not have gone to the needy if the City's intent was to use it to attract business downtown.  There's no evidence that Gensler adopted a "why not us" stance -- there's not even any evidence that Gensler knew the origin of the funds, other than they were being offered by the City as an incentive to relocate - a very common practice all over the country.

 

Don't get me wrong -- I have no particular affection for Gensler. However, in this case, I think the OP's intent to slander is terribly misplaced.  if you want to throw darts at the city, then fine - I'm on board for that.

Apr 27, 11 2:23 pm  · 
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file, i hear you.

in that case, now that the story is out, and let's say gensler had no idea where the money was coming from ( i pretend i believe it,) i am really curious what action gensler will take and respond to the situation.

do they keep the money and say "finders keepers, we have nothing to do with it,"

or,

return the money to its intended location bypassing the 'scumbag' city and directly deal with ngo's?

they can certainly afford the latter, but i am not sure if they can afford the former.

 

as far as the city is concerned, villaraigosa is less than what i thought he was. he proved to be not much more than a political animal.

Apr 28, 11 12:05 am  · 
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jbushkey

I think many people in the Us will wake up to reality when it is too late.  Corporations lie, cheat, and steal like we breathe.  From the higher up at Fanny Mae( or was it Freddy Mac?) stealing funds to that dirtbag Angelo Mozilo to Bank of America paying zero taxes on billions  in profits to Halliburton overcharging the govt millions for rmeals they never delivered to soldiers.  Anyone willing to look can easily find countless examples of corporations gaming the system and outright fraud over the past couple of years.  Is that too strong?

Apr 28, 11 12:21 am  · 
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Rusty!

"Is that too strong?"

 

Yoou didn't specify the direction at which the molotov cocktail should be tossed at.

Apr 28, 11 12:30 am  · 
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"The Co-op Guy"

how about everything that makes money off of me without my knowing of it? down with the Corporation!

Apr 28, 11 12:18 pm  · 
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burningman

It's not called stealing. It's taking from the homeless and giving to upper level management:) If you had $463 dollars in your pocket, wouldn't you take another dollar even if it belonged to someone who doesn't have a roof over their heard? Oh, Gensler, Gensler

Apr 30, 11 4:16 pm  · 
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Was the money going to actual homeless or was it CDBG money that has specific limits on what it can be spent on?

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jbushkey

No Molotov cocktail necessary.  If you don't think it's ok for Bank of America to pay no taxes pull your money out and they will be closed (or bailed out yet again) by the end of the week. Everyone was busy watching the royal wedding while Rome burned.

May 1, 11 2:26 am  · 
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Archdaddy

Oh spare the hate and hysteria.  The city of LA will recoup the money in the form of business taxes a hundred times over before Gensler's downtown lease is up.  That LA Weekly "story" is a classic bit of idiot lefty shrillness, freaking out with a sensational headline without having the slightest grip on reality or the facts. Pretty poor, really.

 

And another thing, nobody "stole" anything, Skid Row was never going to see those particular federal dollars, and this stuff is (perfectly legally) done all the time with CDBG funds to incentivize business relocations and support economic development, which is in everyone's interest.  Santa Monica's loss for not coming up with a sweet deal of their own to get Gensler to stay west.

 

Bottom line, the LA taxpayer's gonna get a good deal out of this.  If you can't see that, then just run along and snack on another sour grape, please.

May 1, 11 6:42 pm  · 
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headyshreddy

It's George Bush's fault!

May 1, 11 11:53 pm  · 
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MerryP

Hello, I could use this group's help with a problem (which is kind of related).

I recently learned from a tradesperson/contractor that my architect is working with that the architect in question asked the tradesperson to considerably raise the price of an item that is scheduled to be built for my project. The profit would be shared between them, supposedly. The architect was the person who actually suggested that this item be built and I was fairly ambivalent about it, but now I am absolutely not going to have it built/added to the cost of my project.

That said, what would members of this arch community suggest I do about this situation? I believe the contractor, and other things the architect has done have raised red flags for me...

Thnx for any comments or suggestions.

Nov 29, 20 6:01 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

First, are they AIA? This would appear to be a major ethics violation. Second, contact the state board, they may have something to say here.

1  · 
OneLostArchitect

Are they referring to Gensler?

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MerryP

No, I am not, as I said it is kind of related and I didn't know where else to ask my question.

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MerryP

Also, this is occurring in Canada so I don't think the AIA would apply in this case. Do you think this sort of thing happens often?

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OneLostArchitect

Oh okay... sorry I misunderstood your comment about the architect. I am in Canada as well and can tell you this is illegal. What proof do you have that the architect will be getting a kick back from the contractor? If you have solid evidence I would bring this information forward to the architectural association that the practicing architect is affiliated with. If its in Ontario that would be the OAA (Ontario Association of Architects). This is a code of ethics issue.

2  · 
MerryP

Thank you, OneLostArhitect. At this point, I only have the contractor's verbal warning that this had occurred. So it is unfortunately a case of he said/she said, no real hard evidence. But I believe the contractor, have no reason to disbelieve as they were shocked/disappointed at being asked to do this.

Nov 30, 20 11:06 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Can confirm that kickbacks are not permitted in any of the canadian provincial arch associations. You can/should request a detail quote of the proposed work. What does your construction contract say about the max OH&P a contractor can charge?

2  · 
MerryP

I have asked the architect for more details regarding the proposed work and they have not been forthcoming. I should add that their proposed budget was way too low, and that fact plus missed deadlines raised concerns for me. The kick-back information I recently received is just icing on the cake.

Nov 30, 20 11:39 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

What does your contract say?

1  · 
MerryP

Our agreement has no termination clause, if that is what you are asking. Should I be concerned?

Nov 30, 20 11:50 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Termination clauses are iffy under canadian architect and building code act since the one who stamps the legal construction docs is required (or an authorised agent) to oversee minimum compliance. You can't just switch architects during construction, at least not easily. What I meant about the contract is if you have a standard CCDC with the contractor. These spell out the rules for conflict of interest as well as OH & P (in most cases) for additional work. This does not specifically work with your architect but at least it would help you get a quality breakdown of the cost. Worst case, you case again. As a client you are entitled to know what product and service you're paying for. If you're not satisfied, then don't go forward with it. You can request alternatives. You can also call around other suppliers to get an idea of the true cost of whatever it is you're suspicious of.

1  · 
MerryP

Thank you, Non Sequitur. At this point, I don't foresee hiring another architect. The one I have has caused my stress levels to go through the roof. I have the building permit in hand. I would like to just want to move ahead with a general contractor that I can trust. I think I just needed a bit of a push to take this step.

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Non Sequitur

What province is this in? You will still need to carry the architect for site reviews if their stamp is on the drawings. They also need to be aware of, and approve in writing, of any changes to said drawings that might impact basic code/life safety as well as performance of the building.

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MerryP

Ontario.

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Non Sequitur

That's the strictest of them... and also where I practice and am registered. Get an itemized quote that includes time and material. Your arch is to protect you from excess gouging by contractors when they review prices. If you can get the same thing for much cheaper, then you may have a case against them through the OAA. They will take this seriously so you most definitively need concrete evidence. Hersey is not evidence.

It does not hurt to make an anonymous call to the OAA and ask.

2  · 
Non Sequitur

Also important, what's the scale of this item anyways? We talking a few hundred loonies, a few thousand loonies, a million loonies?

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MerryP

At this point, half a million loonies - much higher than intended.

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OneLostArchitect

NON if this is a SFR (single family residence) the architect is not required on the job site if their original contract states he/she is not providing CA work.

2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Now these are good peeple, you know how I know? No one hates shifty Canadian architects more, than honest Canadian architects. These are the best.

 · 
Non Sequitur

One, it depends how the permit was submitted.

1  · 
OneLostArchitect

B3 there are plenty of slime ball contractors and architects in Canada. Don’t let the maple leaf fool you

2  · 
OneLostArchitect

Half a million is the entire project cost or the line item they are trying to swindle?

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Non Sequitur

I understood the 500k loonies as an extra to project budget. If so, it’s certainly not your average developer build. Also, the OAA strong la discourages architects from providing budgeting services outside of the rough class D and class C stuff. Don’t know the OP’s details, but this does not feel like you’re conventional owner-architect type contract.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

*strongly.

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OneLostArchitect

Gotcha Non... this doesn’t like a SFR contractor hack job that I originally thought it was... I’m fascinated about this being in Ontario and have a few

1  · 
MerryP

Hi all, thank you again for weighing in. The original contract was budgeted at approximately 200/220K but with this architect's involvement and choice of inclusions and associated trades, I was told by one GC it could easily go to 500K. The agreement had a draft budget that I requested, which was based on "many decades of experience." The budget was seemingly low-balled and with the cost overruns thus far, I could easily see that it could reach that higher number. No matter, the bottom line for me is that trust is gone and choices are clear. Thank you again for all of your comments, they have helped a lot.

1  · 
OneLostArchitect

MerryP what kind of contract did you sign with the architect. At the conclusion of the construction documents phase, if the lowest qualified bid is over the owner’s budget the owner may—among other possible remedies—require the architect, at no additional charge, to perform redesign services to bring the cost within the budget.

1  · 
MerryP

Hi OneLost, sorry but I don't really want to go into any more details just in case the architect in question is ever on these boards. IMO, someone who is capable of asking for kickbacks may also be capable of other rotten behaviour.

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JonathanLivingston

Just to play the devil's advocate here: We are talking about a 200-500k SFR build it appears. No evidence of a kickback other than a complaining contractor telling you these things the architect is adding are driving the price up. and saying "he told me I should charge more". Could this be for something like a finishes allowance? Could the architect be informing the contractor that their allowance is not adequate so as to save change orders that would inevitably cost more in the long run? In SFR this is common. Currently with Covid, Tariffs on foreign goods, crazy lead times, lumber prices, and general uncertainty we have seen prices swing around fairly widely so saying you had a 250K budget that is now up around let say 400k wouldn't be a huge surprise, especially with bespoke single family work. Clear communication and being upfront about your concerns with all parties the architect included would probably help you bring clarity to the situation instead of your speculation. Contractors love to point the finger at architects as the bad guy for why the project is over budget when it is typically owner changes and betterment during the construction and design process.

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Non Sequitur

My assumption here is that the OP does not have a direct contract with the arch. Most likely it's a contract with a GC who then facilitated contact with either a in-house draftsman/design (BCIN) or sole-pract OAA. 220k (cad) is low for residential so I doubt there is a typical owner-architect agreement in play.

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apscoradiales

Golf or Leafs tickets are welcome though. I guess that's little bit different than getting a free vacation to Mexico.

Nov 30, 20 12:02 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

T'is the season of contractor brides. I should check by our reception desk and see what bribes... I mean gift baskets and booze, we've received from GCs.

1  · 
Bench

Hope the leafs tickets aren't for this season though!

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thisisnotmyname

Hire Gensler next time!

Nov 30, 20 12:48 pm  · 
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