Los Angeles Housing Clerk, Eun Chavis, Cheated Immigrants
Former Los Angeles Housing Department clerk Eun Chavis, 58, served less than a month in jail on bribery convictions in 2010 related to payoffs she collected from immigrants and people with limited English skills, according to an LA Times investigation that has officals at Los Angles City Hall asking for answers.
Chavis used her position as a clerk at the Housing Department’s Koreatown office, and the only Korean speaker working the counter in that office, to prey on apartment owners who came to the office looking for help, but instead she bribed them and collected at least $16,000 in payoffs.
In a deal with prosecutors, Chavis pleaded no contest to only one of the eleven felony bribery charges and spent less than a month in jail, the Times reports. She finished her one-year sentence at home with a monitoring bracelet. An arrest warrant was issued for her husband, Max Chavis, for his involvement in the fraud, but he fled to South Korea.
Chavis isn’t the only City employee to prey on Los Angeles’ immigrant community – there’s been two other reported cases in recent months.
“To me, this is like a decay inside the bone,” Councilman Ed Reyes, who said the recent cases point to the need for better supervision of employees dealing with housing and building issues, told the LA Times. “We need to find where the decay exists and learn from it. How did this person get away with it?”
City officials and community leaders say immigrant victims of corruption are often often hesitant to speak out because of either fear of the repercussions or uncertainty about when an authority figure has crossed a line, the article states.